SAN DIEGO–From dark alleys to your computer screens, drug dealers are now using the Internet as a modern day street corner for illegal activity. With a few keywords and the click of a mouse, anyone including our children can easily get dangerous drugs on the web.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on online drug dealers. A five-month investigation dubbed Operation.Com has resulted in 19 arrests, as well as seizure of drugs and $25,000 in cash.
Undercover deputies with the Sheriff’s High Intensity Drug Traffic Area (HIDTA)/Tactical Narcotics
Team (TNT) responded to Craigslist and Facebook posts. Undercover deputies and agents from the Border Crime Suppression Team (BCST), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Border Patrol also took part in Operation.Com. They were able to make 41 undercover buys from November 2013 through April 2014.
Drug deals start with open advertisements for Heroin, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Ecstasy, LSD (a hallucinogen), as well as numerous types of prescription drugs. The ads mention discreet code words such as
“Roxy board shorts size 30” for 30 milligrams of Roxicodone. Heroin is listed for sale as “roofing tar.”
The suspects range in age from 26 to 45. Most of them are unemployed or students.
In this digital age when you can find and buy almost anything online, the Sheriff’s Department wants to send a clear message to drug dealers. Whether the drug deal happens on the streets or on the Internet, it is a crime. It is also illegal to sell prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription. We are also urging parents to be involved and educate their children about being safe online.
Those arrested are facing multiple charges of conspiracy, possession of controlled substances, possession of controlled substances for sales, and transportation of controlled substances for sales. They will face a judge in two or three months. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.