San Diego State University has suspended six fraternities after a sweeping drug investigation that landed members of three fraternities in jail on suspicion of openly dealing drugs on campus.The probe – prompted by the cocaine overdose death last year of a freshman sorority member – 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 of those arrested were wanted on warrants for selling to undercover agents.
Theta Chi and five other fraternities have been suspended pending a hearing on evidence gathered during the investigation, dubbed Operation Sudden Fall.
Authorities said some fraternity members openly dealt drugs, and that one sent a mass text message advertising special prices on cocaine. Two kilograms of cocaine were seized in all, along with 350 Ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, hash oil, methamphetamine, illicit prescription drugs, several guns and at least $60,000 in cash, authorities said.
Profits may have been used to finance fraternity operations, according to an affidavit.
Those arrested 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.
Dale Taylor, national executive director of Theta Chi, said he was “obviously shocked and saddened” by the allegations. Theta Chi prohibited the San Diego chapter from group activities such as parties or sports activities and will investigate additional disciplinary measures, up to expulsion of members or the entire chapter.
The San Diego chapter, founded 61 years ago, was the first national fraternity on campus and has 65 members.
Theta Chi has 131 chapters in the U.S. and Canada and more than 161,000 initiates. It was founded in 1856.
Some drugs bought and sold by students were traced to gangs linked to Mexican cartels, according to the DEA. Agents collected about $100,000 worth of drugs that were being advertised in “resale quantities” between members of the fraternity and other students.
-with a report from CP
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.