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21students & staff from UNC & Duke arrested 4 running 'large scale drug operation' shipping 'more than 1.5M of cocaine & pot from California and dealing it to frat houses

21 people arrested for 'drug ring' at UNC Chapel Hill and Duke

  • 21 people have been arrested since July as part of the drug operation sting
  • The suspects range in age from 22 and 35 and include current and former students from Duke and UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina
  • Together, they sold over $1.5million of cocaine and marijuana, prosecutors said 
  • Prosecutors say they are 'hardened drug dealers' with 'brazen' attitudes
  • Many of the suspects have prior arrests and have already graduated 
  • Some of the most serious charges carry sentences of between 10 years behind bars and life  

Students from UNC Chapel Hill and Duke are among 21 people who have been arrested for allegedly running a massive drug ring which trafficked 'thousands of pounds' of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs with payments made via Venmo.    

Prosecutors said the alleged drug dealing took place between 2017 and 2020 with more than $1.5million of product being shipped from California through USPS and then distributed in North Carolina, where Duke and UNC's campuses are located about 10 miles apart. 

The suspects range in age from 21 and 35. A full list of the fraternities allegedly involved have not yet been released but they include UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi. 



'This is not a situation where you have single users, where you have a 19-year-old sipping a beer, where you have someone taking a puff of a joint on the back porch of a frat house,' prosecutors said at a press conference Thursday. 

'These are hardened drug dealers.' 

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood, whose office worked with the DEA on the investigation, said it 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'. 

He said the suspects all had 'brazen' attitudes and that the use of drugs in some of the fraternities was 'pervasive'.  

Chase Poindexter, 23, is one of the 21 people charged over the alleged drug ring. He is accused of supplying drugs to frat brothers at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. He is shown with his parents graduating this year
Amber Janna Johnson allegedly sold drugs at Duke

Chase Poindexter, 23, is one of the 21 people charged over the alleged drug ring. He is accused of supplying drugs to frat brothers at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. at UNC. He is shown with his parents graduating this year. Amber Janna Johnson allegedly sold drugs at Duke University. She's been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Brianha Haskell, 24
Zachre Abercrombie, 27

Many of the suspects have previous arrests including Brianha Haskell, 24 (left) and Zachre Abercrombie, 27 (right) was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Brianha has been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute marijuana. 

Kyle Parrish Beckner, 22, allegedly sold 1,000 dosage units of LSD for $3,000 in the parking lot of a Chapel Hill restaurant
Jason Nitsos

Kyle Parrish Beckner, 22, allegedly sold 1,000 dosage units of LSD for $3,000 in the parking lot of a Chapel Hill restaurant. Jason Nitsos (right) has been charged with selling cocaine to members of the Eta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at UNC-Chapel Hill

The DEA probe was launched in 2018 after people in a different investigation informed the police about drug dealing at UNC, police said.  

Some of the first arrests were made in July this year and authorities said they have been working since then to piece together the operation they called 'astonishing'.  

Authorities identified two UNC students, one Duke student and two Appalachian State students  among the defendants, but declined to say exactly how many of those charged are currently or formerly enrolled at any of those three schools. 

The suspects

Francisco Ochoa, 27

Andrew Gaddy, 24 *

Travis Michael Evans, 27 * 

Dane Lamber Simon, 23 *

Brianha Nicole Haskell, 24  *

Mariela Zavala Mendoza (aka Maria Ochoa), 25

Zachre Abercrombie, 27

Amber Johnson, 24

John Holloway, 23

Devin McDonald, 23

Jason Nitsos, 24 *

Devon Pickering, 35 *

Edison Robles, 26

Jason Xu, 23 *

Chandler Anderson, 27

David Bayha, 21 

Kyle Beckner, 22

Bernard Bukowski, 24

Charles Cleveau Pointdexter aka Chase Poindexter, 23

Jackson Norris, 22 

Christopher Reyes, 26

* defendants who have pleaded guilty 

In July this year, five people were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. 

They are Andrew Gaddy, 24, Travis Michael Evans, 27, Dane Lamber Simon, 23, Brianha Nicole Haskell, 24, and Mariela Zavala Mendoza (aka Maria Ochoa), 25. 

Other indictments in July, October and December brought charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine against another eight suspects.  

They are Zachre Abercrombie, 27, Amber Johnson, 24, John Holloway, 23, Devin McDonald, 23, Jason Nitsos, 24, Devon Pickering, 35, Edison Robles, 26, and Jason Xu, 23.

An additional eight people were charged with a variety of drug offenses in October and December.  

They are Chandler Anderson, 27, David Bayha, 21, Kyle Beckner, 22, - who is charged with distribution of LSD - Bernard Bukowski, 24, Charles Cleveau Pointdexter (aka Chase Poindexter), 23, Jackson Norria, 22, and Christopher Reyes, 26. 

According to the US Attorneys Office for the Middle District of North Carolina, they shipped the drugs from the West Coast through the postal service. 

Francisco Ochoa, 27, is the alleged supplier from California. 

He is accused of supplying 200 pounds of marijuana and two kilograms of cocaine every week to a cooperating defendant, identified as 'CD2' in court documents, in Orange County, North Carolina, near the two prestigious colleges.  

Law enforcement operations at locations associated with Ochoa in Carrboro and Hillsborough counties also resulted in the seizure of 148.75 pounds of marijuana, 442 grams of cocaine, 189 Xanax pills, steroids, human growth hormone, other narcotics and approximately $27,775 in cash, court documents state. 

Ochoa was arrested in November 2019 and took a plea deal which involved 73 months imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $250,000 forfeiture judgment. 

Chase Poindexter allegedly bought cocaine and other drugs from the dealer and sold it to his fraternity brothers at UNC's Phi Gamma Delta house. 

'In an interview, Poindexter admitted to purchasing cocaine, marijuana, and "molly" (MDMA) from CD2, and stated that all 22 members of his fraternity pledge class "went in" to purchase an ounce of cocaine for spring break in his sophomore year,' prosecutors said.  

David Bayha allegedly supplied cocaine, marijuana and Xanax to frat brothers at UNC's Kappa Sigma chapter. 

CD2 told police he also supplied cocaine, mushrooms and Xanax to defendant Jason Shuang Xu, who would then allegedly sell them to members of Kappa Sigma.    

Investigators said they uncovered text messages about drug deals and photos of the contraband on Xu's iCloud account.  

Amber Janna Johnson, also allegedly dealt drugs to friends and other students at Duke University, working as a subordinate of CD2.   

Jason Blake Nitsos allegedly distributed drugs to the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at UNC. He allegedly used Venmo to pay the dealers $15,000 for the drugs between October 2017 and March 2019.  

Two of the defendants were identified as students at Appalachian State, located over 160 miles from Duke and UNC in Boone County, North Carolina. 

Over the summer a cooperating defendant alerted police about alleged drug dealing by 22-year-old Kyle Beckner, a member of ASU's Delta Chi fraternity accused of selling controlled substances to peers. 

Authorities set up a sting where the cooperating defendant purchased 1,000 units of LSD from Beckner for $3,000 in the parking lot of a restaurant in Chapel Hill, prosecutors wrote in an indictment. 

The second ASU student, 23-year-old Devin McDonald, was also identified by a cooperating source as a distributor of cocaine on campus.

Investigators made a controlled purchase of one ounce of cocaine from McDonald in October, an indictment said.  

The two colleges are ten miles apart in North Carolina. The drugs were shipped first from California to the East Coast where the middle men dealers - who are cooperating with the authorities - then sold them to the fraternities, according to prosecutors

The two colleges are ten miles apart in North Carolina. The drugs were shipped first from California to the East Coast where the middle men dealers - who are cooperating with the authorities - then sold them to the fraternities, according to prosecutors 

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'

US Attorney Martin Miller on Thursday announcing the charges at a press conference

US Attorney Martin Miller on Thursday announcing the charges at a press conference 

In a statement, US Attorney Miller said: 'No one is above the law, including college students and fraternity members at elite universities. 

'This serious drug trafficking is destructive and reckless, and many lives have been ruined. 

'This investigation reveals that the fraternity culture at these universities is dangerous. 

'University administrators and national chapters cannot turn a blind eye to the impact on these students and the environment on their respective college campuses.

'The drug culture feeds many other problems on campus and in our society. 

'University administrators must take a stand and put a stop to it.' 

Michael Schoenfeld, Vice President for Public Affairs & Government Relations and Chief Communications Officer for Duke University, told DailyMail.com: 'We take these allegations very seriously and Duke will cooperate fully with law enforcement. 

'The use and distribution of narcotics is against the law, it is against our code of conduct, and it endangers the health and safety of our students and community. 

'Duke will respond accordingly through our disciplinary process.' 

UNC Chapel Hill said: 'We are extremely disappointed to learn of these alleged actions on our campus. The University is committed to working with law enforcement to fully understand the involvement of any university individuals or organizations so that disciplinary action can be taken. 

'Although none of the individuals named today are currently enrolled students, we will remain vigilant and continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify and address any illegal drug use on our campus. 

'Our community can be certain that the University will enforce the student conduct code to the fullest extent possible.' 

According to social media, Chase Poindexter - one of the alleged UNC dealers - now works at a second hand car dealership. 

Many of the suspects graduated college earlier this year, before they were arrested. 

Some of the suspects have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

They are Gaddy, Evans, Simon, Haskell, Pickering, Nitsos and Xu. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'

  • Twenty-one people have been arrested since July as part of the operation 
  • They range in age from 22 and 35 and are all based in North Carolina
  • Together, they sold in excess of $1.5million of cocaine and marijuana, according to prosecutors 
  • The suspects include former and current students of Duke and UNC Chapel Hill  
  • Prosecutors say they are 'hardened drug dealers' and that it goes further than 'someone taking a puff of a joint at a frat house'  

Twenty-one current and former students and staff from colleges including UNC Chapel Hill and Duke have been arrested in what police are calling a large-scale drug operation sting through which they allegedly peddled 'thousands of pounds' of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.  

A full list of the fraternities allegedly involved have not yet been released but they include UNC chapters of Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Sigma and Beta Theta Pi fraternities. 

The alleged drug dealing went on between 2017 and 2020 but the investigation started in 2018 after people in a different investigation informed the police about drug dealing at UNC. 



Prosecutors say they shipped the drugs from California through the USPS then distributed them in North Carolina.  In total, more than $1.5million of drugs was sold. 

The suspects range in age between 21 and 35. 

Some of the first arrests were made in July this year and authorities say they have been working since then to piece together the operation. 

Prosecutors said on Thursday at a press conference: 'This is not a situation where you have single users, where you have a 19-year-old sipping a beer, where you have someone taking a puff of a joint on the back porch of a frat house. These are hardened drug dealers'.  

Academic Building at the Campus of the University of North Carolina

Academic Building at the Campus of the University of North Carolina

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'

Police called the operation they ran 'astonishing'. 

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said at a press conference on Thursday that the case 'unfolded unlike any other case I have seen'. 

He said the suspects all had 'brazen' attitudes and that the use of drugs in some of the fraternities was 'pervasive'. 

In July this year, five people were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. 

They are Andrew Gaddy, 24, Travis Michael Evans, 27, Dane Lamber Simon, 23, Brianha Nicole Haskel, 24 and Mariela Zavala Mendoza (aka Maria Ochoa), 25.  

Since then, another eight people have been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. 

They are Zachre Abercrombie, 27, Amber Johnson, 24, John Holloway, 23, Devin McDonald, 23, Jason Nitsos, 24, Devon Pickering, 365, Edison Robles, 26, and Jason Xu, 23.

An additional eight people have been charged since. 

They are Chandler Anderson, 27, Davis Bayha, 21, Kyle Beckner, 22, - who is charged with distribution of LSD - Bernard Bukowski, 24, Charles Cleveau Pointdexter aka Chase Poindexter, 23, Jackon Norria, 22, and Christopher Reyes, 26. 

According to the US Attorneys Office for the Middle District of North Carolina, they shipped the drugs from the West Coast through the postal service. 

Francisco Ochia, 27, is the alleged supplier from California. 

He allegedly supplied 200 pounds of marijuana and two kilograms of cocaine every week to a cooperating defendant in Orange County, North Carolina, near the two prestigious colleges. 

He was arrested in November 2019 and took a plea deal which involved 73 months imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $250,000 forfeiture judgment. 

Chase Poindexter is one of the alleged dealers. 

He is said to have distributed cocaine among his frat brothers at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. 

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Comment by John on December 21, 2020 at 7:59am
This is the America of today. USA is a shithole country, on it's way out. All the smart people are leaving.
Comment by mr1stroke on December 19, 2020 at 1:46am

If any one missed the memo because they are too busy waiting for stimulus check, in 2020 the world has become more about business, its all about money now, for many out there even to your own family you dont mean nothing if you dont have a dollar, thats why my family and i make sure we do a family business where every one invest together and each other, at kwanzaa we share the profits or split the losses, if you think you have friends these days good luck. So many people will do what they have to do to make money, not every one will sit and wait for government hand outs, some people will create their own ways whether we agree or not, they just have to be smart on how they make money especially if against the law, so much luck to them i hope they can bounce back, hustlers are hustlers

Comment by jelenhar on December 18, 2020 at 4:36pm
Comment by jelenhar on December 18, 2020 at 4:27pm
Comment by jelenhar on December 18, 2020 at 1:42pm
Comment by vaughn mitchell on December 18, 2020 at 11:00am
Anyone the racial makeup. All white.
Comment by Lori Graham on December 17, 2020 at 2:43pm
Wow they messed up their Future

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