From Staff Reports
Current and former students at UNC, called “hardened drug dealers,” have been arrested for trafficking in thousands of pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, LSD, molly, mushrooms, steroids, HGH, Xanax and other narcotics.
“This is a large drug network and supply chain fueling a drug culture at fraternities and within these universities and around these universities and towns,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Martin at a press conference in Hillsborough. “This reckless culture has endangered lives.”
The 21 defendants, who included an Appalachian State student and a Duke student, were indicted for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. They face terms of imprisonment ranging from 10 years to life.
Court filings specifically pointed to UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi from 2017-2020 as being the focal points for the illegal drug activity.
“Dealers set up inside these houses, poisoning fellow members of their fraternity, fueling a culture,” Martin said.
Court documents depict a drug culture at the three UNC fraternities as pervasive. One account describes regularly supplying a Phi Gamma Delta member with cocaine, who would exclusively sell to fellow fraternity members with many transactions taking place within the Phi Gamma Delta house.
“We are extremely disappointed to learn of these alleged actions on our campus,” said UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz in a statement. “The university is committed to working with law enforcement to fully understand the involvement of any university individuals or organizations so that disciplinary action can be taken.
“Although none of the individuals named today are currently enrolled students, we will remain vigilant and continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and address any illegal drug use on our campus.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Agency launched an investigation in November 2018 into cocaine being sold in the Chapel Hill area. It soon became clear, officials said, that the illegal drug distribution was happening at or near UNC fraternity organizations.
According to court documents, from March 2017 until March 22, 2019, a primary supplier from California supplied approximately 200 pounds of marijuana and two kilograms of cocaine weekly to a cooperating defendant in Orange County. Law enforcement operations at locations associated with the subject in Carrboro and Hillsborough resulted in the seizure of 148.75 pounds of marijuana, 442 grams of cocaine, 189 Xanax pills, steroids, human growth hormone, other narcotics, and approximately $27,775 in U.S. currency.
“This is a public health crisis,” Martin said. “We need to cut off the drug supply, protect the integrity of the academic institutions. We cannot brush it under the rug, this is a problem we have to deal with now.”