Frat members from three colleges in North Carolina have allegedly trafficked more than $1.5 million in drugs, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. Students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and Appalachian State University (ASU) were named in the investigation.
The investigation discovered that 21 students from the three colleges dealt more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine, and significant quantities of ecstasy. The students face charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and many other charges.
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood released a statement, saying “The amount of illegal narcotics being sold and used in this case was not only astonishing; it also reflected a very serious public health crisis. This investigation and the prosecution of those involved in the drug trade on university campuses should send a clear message that such activities will not be tolerated.”
The investigation was launched in November 2018 after authorities received a tip that illegal drugs were being sold on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. At the onset of the investigation, authorities were able to determine that drugs were being sold at the following fraternities at UNC:
- Phi Gamma Delta
- Kappa Sigma
- Beta Theta Pi
The sales occurred beginning in 2017 and lasted until the spring of 2020. All three fraternities have been suspended by UNC-Chapel Hill and that the students named in the investigation are no longer enrolled at the school.
Authorities discovered that cocaine and other drugs were being shipped from California via the United States Postal Service. Marijuana was being delivered to college frats via vehicle. Cash made from the sale of the drugs was sent via USPS, Venmo, and Western Union.
One of the main suppliers was identified as Francisco Javier Ochoa, Jr., 27, of Turlock, California. Ochoa was indicted in November 2019. The investigation discovered that Ochoa would provide a defendant in North Carolina with 200 pounds of marijuana and two kilograms of cocaine weekly between March 2017 and March 2019. Ochoa was sentenced in November 2020 to 73 months in prison and five years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a judgment of $250,000.
The remaining 20 defendants were all charged between July and December of 2020. Nineteen of those defendants reside in North Carolina. Seven of them have entered guilty pleas in their cases and will be sentenced in March 2021.
Is your college student facing drug crime charges in Tennessee? Have you been charged with distribution or conspiracy related to a drug crime? If so, it’s important that you understand your rights and the law when it comes to dealing with drug charges. The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates are ready to help when your child is facing criminal charges. Call our office at 615-977-9370 or complete our contact form to schedule your initial consultation. We represent clients in Brentwood, Columbia, Franklin, and throughout Tennessee.