May 7th, 2008 06:10 EST
SDSU Campus; Party Time 96 Arrested on Drug-Related Charges
Ralph W. Partridge, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) San Diego Field Division and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego State University (SDSU) Department of Public Safety today announced the culmination of an extensive undercover drug operation on the San Diego State University campus resulting in the arrest of 96 individuals, including 75 students selling or buying cocaine, marijuana, or ecstasy.
In May of 2007, an SDSU student was found dead of a drug overdose in her bedroom. As a result, SDSU police began an undercover investigation known as “Operation Sudden Fall.” Undercover officers determined students and non-student were heavily involved in selling drugs for profit, on and off campus. DEA Agents infiltrated several student drug distribution cells and more than 130 drug purchases and seizures were made during the five-month operation.
“Our children are our biggest asset and absent a safe, drug free learning environment, their chances of succeeding are greatly diminished. The San Diego State University Police and SDSU administration are to be commended for their swift actions in confronting the drug use problem on campus,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ralph W. Partridge. “This investigation spotlights two tragedies. The tragic drug overdose deaths of two college students and secondly, the shattered futures of those students who choose to continue to engage in the illicit sale and usage of a myriad of controlled substances. A drug free learning environment for our children should be the norm, not the exception.”
As a result of the investigation, 75 SDSU students and 21 non-students have been arrested for various drug offenses ranging from possession of marijuana and cocaine to sales of cocaine. One student arrested was a cocaine dealer on campus who was just one month away from obtaining his Masters Degree in Homeland Security and also worked as a student Community Service Officer on campus and reported to the campus police. Another student arrested for possession of 500 grams of cocaine and two guns is a Criminal Justice major.
At the same time the undercover operation was underway, a second fatal drug overdose occurred when a 22-year old Mesa College student died from an accidental cocaine overdose in an SDSU fraternity house on February 26, 2008.
“This operation shows how accessible and pervasive illegal drugs continue to be on our college campuses, and how common it is for students to be selling to other students,” said DA Dumanis. “It’s unfortunate that it took the accidental cocaine overdose of a student to refocus attention on the problem.”
As the operation continued, DEA and SDSU Police infiltrated seven campus fraternities and discovered that in some fraternities, most of the members were aware of organized drug dealing occurring from the fraternity houses by its members. Undercover Agents purchased cocaine from fraternity members and confirmed that a hierarchy existed for the purpose of selling drugs for money.
In one instance a member of the Theta Chi fraternity sent out a mass text message to his “faithful customers” stating that he and his “associates” would be traveling to Las Vegas for the weekend and would not be able to complete cocaine sales during that time. He noted that they were having a “sale” on cocaine and listed the reduced prices.
Evidence seized includes four pounds of cocaine, 50 pounds of marijuana, 48 hydroponic marijuana plants, 350 ecstasy pills, psilocybin (mushrooms), 30 vials of hash oil, methamphetamine, various illicit prescription drugs, one shotgun, three semi-automatic pistols, three brass knuckles and $60,000 in cash.