Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Seventy-five SDSU students linked to an on-campus drug ring are in custody today. Police say those arrests are part of one of San Diego County's largest drug busts. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.
The investigation began a year ago after a 19-year-old Shirley Poliakoff was found dead in her SDSU campus apartment. The medical examiner says the sorority student died of a drug overdose.
Her death led to police a number of drug cells on and off campus. One of the biggest was based out of the Theta Chi fraternity.
Deputy District Attorney David Mosler says the dealers sold marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine. He says they used text messaging to advertise and do business.
Mosler: They weren't picky about who they sold to. Our undercover officers were often able to contact them and say hey, I heard you deal will you sell to me...and they would sell over and over again.
Mosler says another student died of a drug overdose during the course of their investigation. Police believe that student got the drugs from this campus network.
Federal drug agents say not all of the dealers were students. Some lived in other areas of the city but had connections to students. One dealer is a known gang member linked to a Mexican drug cartel.
Federal drug agents say its unusual for a university to allow such a large-scale, undercover operation to take place on campus. But SDSU President Stephen Weber says it was an easy decision to make. He hopes the arrests send a strong message.
Weber: Well, I feel good about it frankly. I don't how others are going to feel about our university. But we did the right thing. And we stepped up and I think frankly more universities need to take this proactive action.
In addition to criminal charges, the students have been suspended and kicked off campus. Weber says the Theta Chi fraternity may be forced to shut down.
Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.