Watch CBS News

UC Santa Cruz Student Accused Of Using Phone App To Sell Illegal Drugs

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- A Sunnyvale 18-year-old has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly creating a iPhone app and using it to sell and distribute cocaine and methamphetamines, according to federal prosecutors.

Collin Howard Mug Shot
Collin Howard (Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office)

United States Attorney David L. Anderson said Collin Riley Howard -- a student at UC Santa Cruz -- was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on several drug possession and distribution counts.

An affidavit filed by a Homeland Security Investigations in connection with a search warrant alleges that Howard developed the "Banana Plug" application, which was available on the Apple App Store.

The app offered for sale contraband, including cocaine, "Molly," and "Shrooms." It also invited customers to make special requests. Posters advertising the application had been hung up around the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Upon discovering the posters and the application, a UC Santa Cruz police officer, in coordination with HSI, used it to request a purchase of marijuana and cocaine and then communicated with Howard via Snapchat to set up the purchase.

An undercover HSI agent made that purchase and separately continued to communicate with Howard on Snapchat to set up three additional purchases of controlled substances.

The third and fourth purchases were for more than five grams of methamphetamine. At the fourth meeting, UC Santa Cruz police officers arrested Howard before any payment was made.

Howard was arrested on the federal charges on February 15th ad was released after Tuesday's initial appearance. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins scheduled Howard's next court appearance for February 22, 2019, at 1:30 for a bail review hearing.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.