California authorities arrested six UC Santa Cruz fraternity and sorority members Tuesday in connection with an international drug ring investigation.
The Santa Cruz Police Department said Cecilia Le, Hoai Nguyen, Nathan Tieu, Cesar Casil, Benny Liu and Mariah Dremel, all 21, were detained on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance for sale after it was learned they were allegedly running an Ecstasy ring, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The proliferation of drugs like MDMA is a serious concern for the Santa Cruz area. The drug alters perception and awareness, as well as increasing emotions of trust and lowering inhibitions oftentimes resulting in sexual exploitation," Santa Cruz Police spokeswoman Joyce Blaschke said in a statement.
“This dangerous combination undermines the efforts of affirmative consent work undertaken by many college campuses. The drug can have other adverse health effects such as elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and inability to regulate body temperature,” she added.
A few weeks ago, police discovered several packages of MDMA tablets that were being shipped through the U.S. Postal Service from overseas. The shipments were addressed to three Santa Cruz addresses and a further investigation revealed that the drugs were going to members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity and the Alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority, police said.
Members of the Santa Cruz County Ant-Crime Team, the DEA, USPS Inspectors and Homeland Security agents conducted search warrants last Friday in the 400 block of Locust Street, 200 block of Castillion Terrace and 100 block of Peach Terrace immediately after the packages were delivered.
Law enforcement officials seized 4.1 pounds or about 5,000 tablets of MDMA, police said. The street value of the drugs was totaled at $100,000.
According to the Los Angeles Times, several students held leadership roles at their fraternity and sorority. All of the students were placed on interim suspension pending the outcomes of campus judicial hearings. Both the fraternity and the sorority suspended activities and operations on campus.
"We hold our students to a high standard and care about the well-being of every member of our campus community," UC Santa Cruz Alison Galloway said.