On Thursday, local and federal authorities said that a major crime ring that sold drugs out of fraternity homes at three prominent North Carolina universities is now out of business.
Prosecutors say that the dealers at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Appalachian State University had been selling their drugs for years, raking in at least $1.5 million over a three-year period.
The ring allegedly worked out of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma, and Beta Theta Pi fraternities. So far, 21 people have been charged following the long-running local and federal investigation.
Most of the arrests have been current or former frat members and students, ranging from 21-27 years old, with “the majority at UNC.”
Matthew Martin, US attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, said at a press conference aired by WRAL-TV, “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.”
He said, “This is not a situation where you have single users, … where you have a 19-year-old sipping a beer, where you have someone taking a puff of a joint on the back porch of a frat house.” He added, “These are 21 hardened drug dealers.”
According to Martin, the dealers had moved thousands of pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilos of cocaine, and large quantities of other drugs that ranged from LSD to human growth hormones.
Between 2017 and this year, the dealers used “very sophisticated” distribution methods, including encrypted messages and electronic payment apps, with most of California’s drugs.
Martin, a graduate of Chapel Hill, cautioned administrators at the three schools that they “can’t turn a blind eye any longer.”