Dozens of San Diego State University students were arrested and six fraternities were suspended after a drug investigation found that some...
SAN DIEGO — Dozens of San Diego State University students were arrested and six fraternities were suspended after a drug investigation found that some fraternity members openly dealt drugs and one sent a mass text message advertising cocaine, authorities said Tuesday.
A five-month investigation prompted by a cocaine overdose death last year led to the arrests of 96 people, 75 of them San Diego State students. A second drug death occurred during the investigation.
Twenty-nine people were arrested early Tuesday in raids at nine locations, including the Theta Chi fraternity, where agents found cocaine, Ecstasy and three guns. Eighteen were wanted on warrants for selling to undercover agents.
Two kilograms of cocaine were seized, along with 350 Ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, hash oil, methamphetamine, illicit prescription drugs, several guns and at least $60,000 cash, authorities said.
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Those arrested Tuesday included a student who was about to receive a criminal-justice degree and another who was to receive a master’s degree in homeland security, said Ralph Partridge, special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in San Diego.
A member of Theta Chi sent a mass text message to his “faithful customers” stating that he and his “associates” would be unable to sell cocaine while they were in Las Vegas over one weekend, according to the DEA.
San Diego State suspended Theta Chi and five other fraternities Tuesday pending a hearing. Members of at least three fraternities — Theta Chi, Phi Kappa Psi and Delta Sigma Phi — were arrested, according to law-enforcement officers.
Investigators infiltrated seven fraternities in the course of the probe.
The undercover investigation was sparked by the cocaine overdose death of a student in May 2007, authorities said. As the investigation continued, another student, from Mesa College, died Feb. 26 of a cocaine overdose at an SDSU fraternity house, the DEA said.
Two defendants in the case pleaded not guilty to drug charges in San Diego Superior Court: Patrick Hawley to selling cocaine and Omar Castaneda to possession of cocaine.
Theta Chi’s San Diego chapter declined to comment.
Dale Taylor, the fraternity’s national executive director, said he was “obviously shocked and saddened” by the allegations.
San Diego State is one of the largest schools in California’s state university system, with about 34,000 students.