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UC Santa Cruz MDMA Ring Busted; Sorority, Fraternity Members Jailed

SANTA CRUZ (CBS) -- Three sorority and three fraternity members at the University of California at Santa Cruz were arrested Friday for allegedly taking part in an MDMA drug ring and possession of $100,000-worth of the notorious club drug.

On Friday, the six students, all 21 years old, and all members of the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity and the alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority, were arrested at three residences.

Police said more than 4.1 pounds, or 5,000 tablets of MDMA with a street value of $100,000 was seized.

The suspects were identified by police as (pictured from left to right) Mariah Dremel, Benny Liu, Cesar Casil, Nathan Tieu, Hoai Nguyen and Cecilia Le.




Both Nguyen and Le were arrested for possession of a controlled substance, while the other four students were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance for sale, according to Santa Cruz police.

The Santa Cruz Police Department's Neighborhood Enforcement Team worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations, as well as the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's San Jose team to dismantle the organized "drug sales ring," police said.

In a statement, the Santa Cruz Police Department said, "Over the past few weeks, the Santa Cruz Police Department became aware of several packages of MDMA tablets being shipped through the US Postal Service. The packages were shipped from overseas and were bound for three addresses in the city of Santa Cruz. The investigation revealed that the illegal drug MDMA known by its street names as Ecstasy, or Molly was being imported and shipped to a number of students at Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity and alpha Kappa Delta Phi Sorority members."

Following the delivery of shipments at the three residences on Friday, local and federal law enforcement officials executed search warrants and a second large shipment of the MDMA was intercepted by Homeland Security.

The search warrants were executed in the 400 block of Locust Street, the 200 block of Castillion Terrace, and the 100 block of Peach Terrace after the delivery of the MDMA-laden packages, according to police.

The Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity identifies itself on its website as "the world's largest Asian interest fraternity" while the alpha Kappa Delta Phi sorority states on their website that they are "the largest Asian-American interest sorority in the United States."

Santa Cruz police expressed concern regarding the growing prevelance of MDMA, Police said, "The drug alters perception and awareness, as well as increasing emotions of trust and lowering inhibitions oftentimes resulting in sexual exploitation. This dangerous combination undermines the efforts of affirmative consent work undertaken by many college campuses."

Police also noted that MDMA can cause an elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and the inability to regulate body temperature.

By Hannah Albarazi - Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.

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