Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials announced 21 people were charged on Thursday in connection to a drug trafficking ring at three North Carolina universities.
Over a thousand pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and other drugs made dealers over $1.5 million at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and Appalachian State University from 2017 to 2020, according to court records. Two defendants who are cooperating with authorities say a majority of the drug deals took place at fraternity events, either inside houses or outside in the community.
Drugs are nothing new to the party scene of a college campus. However, what has changed over the years is that fraternity houses have become safe haven sanctuaries for drug dealers to set up shop and pray on those connected to campus. This is a concerning trend and the Tar Heel State is not alone with this practice.
It’s no different than a trap house set up in a crime-ridden neighborhood being protected by drug lords. Except these fraternities are considered to be part of the college community and therefore protected as a tradition or a rite of passage for some students. University administrators need to address these institutional problems and realize they’re complicit by not getting their houses in order. At this point, hiding behind the protection of a state-sponsored entity is not acceptable.
Technology come a long way in the game of drug dealing as well. In this case (like many others), the $1.5 million is a low figure of what can be accounted for on the sales end. The use of electronic payment methods help dealers launder their proceeds on top of the cash they’ll receive. WRAL reported that “Charles Poindexter, of Chapel Hill, who was charged in the investigation, told a federal agent that half of the drugs bought and sold at UNC were paid for using cash and the other half through the money transfer app Venmo,” according to court documents.
And it doesn’t stop with the transaction itself. Students are using encrypted apps to set up the transfer of drugs with specific code words. These criminals were brazen in their business dealing due to the amount of product they were supplied from a California distributor.
The arrests of these individuals is the first step to cleaning up our colleges and universities. Law enforcement agencies now needs to sweep out the rotten establishments contributing to this nonsense and hold everybody accountable.