Massive College Drug Ring Busted

Federal prosecutors say more than $1.5 million in drug sales were made from 2017 to 2020 by the defendants on the campuses of Duke, UNC Chapel Hill and Appalachian State University. WRAL's Sarah Krueger reports.

(NBC News) — Federal prosecutors and local law enforcement announced a bust Thursday of a drug trafficking ring that funneled more than a thousand pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and other drugs throughout the campuses of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and Appalachian State University.

More than $1.5 million in drug sales were made from 2017 to 2020 by the defendants, according to court records.

Matt Martin, U.S. attorney for the middle district of North Carolina, and Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood expressed surprise and dismay at the amount of narcotics being moved on college campuses and the attitude of those involved.

The investigation “unfolded unlike any other case I have seen,” Blackwood said.

Given “the brazen attitudes” of those involved and “the casual use of high volumes of drugs,” Blackwood said, it was not very hard to see what was going on.

“The distribution of hard drugs was pervasive in and around certain fraternities,” the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

The investigation began at the local level, with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Court filings allege illegal drug activity within the UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi fraternities occurring between 2017 and the spring of 2020.

When the scope of the problem became clear, other local and federal law enforcement agencies got involved.

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