Ivy League Bust: Columbia Drug Ring Sold Coke, LSD in Candy

Five students arrested in sting

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork

    Their day started at one of the country's most prestigious universities...but ended under arrest.

    Five students from Columbia University, including a member of the student council as well as engineering and biology majors, are charged in what NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the biggest college campus drug bust in recent memory.

    Cops Bust Columbia Campus Drug Ring

    [NY] Cops Bust Columbia Campus Drug Ring
    Five students from Columbia University were charged today in a major drug bust on campus. Police say an undercover officer bought eleven thousand dollars worth of illegal drugs at campus housing. They say the majority of sales took place at three fraternities: Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Psi Upsilon. Lynda Baquero reports. (Published Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010)

    At a news conference Tuesday, Kelly said the students "were arrested for sale of cocaine, marijuana, LSD and ecstasy at three fraternity houses on campus." Those fraternities were identified as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha and Psi Upsilon.

    The bust was part of "Operation Ivy League." Police say since July 2010, an undercover officer purchased $11,000 worth of illegal drugs, including a liquid form of LSD that was dropped onto mints and candy.

    Columbia Suspects Escorted by Police

    [NY] Columbia Suspects Escorted by Police
    Students arrested in "Operation Ivy League" are escorted by police. (Published Tuesday, Dec 7, 2010)

    When NBCNewYork read the names of the suspects -- identified by police as Chris Coles, Harrison David, Adam Klein, Jose Stephen Perez and Michael Wymbs -- to a fraternity brother of one of the alleged drug sellers, he seemed surprised at the charges.

    Other students like Leah Siegel, a junior at Columbia, said "I don't think it's the majority of students at all, but like any college campus, I'm sure there is a market for things like that." Another student pointed out "it's a college campus, so I can guess some people (are) doing drugs but nothing big like selling."

    Also arrested in "Operation Ivy League" were three people  not affiliated with the University who were identified by police as the students' suppliers. Commissioner Kelly said "one of the individuals arrested wanted to get our undercover officer involved in kidnapping and perhaps more (of) one of the rival drug sellers."

    In a message to students, Columbia University says "the alleged behavior of the students...goes against not only state and federal law, but also university policy and the principals we have set." The University added: "should you or anyone you know need counseling or treatment related to drugs and alcohol, there are many people on campus with whom you may speak."

    Arraignments are now pending for the suspects.