University Drug Trafficking Ring Busted in Austin, Texas
Young, college-age kids are notorious for pushing the envelope. Whether that involves going against their parents’ wishes, drinking underage, or trying illegal substances, one defiant action can quickly lead to a series of poor decisions. Drinking under the age of 21 can also result in a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge depending on the circumstances, and trying a single drug can often result in a life riddled by drug crimes. Those involved in drug rings recognize young adults’ willingness to try drugs and the likelihood of them getting hooked on these substances. With this in mind, many will target college-age kids to create regular customers of their products, many of which are not the drug that they think they are.
UT Students at Risk
In early December, authorities busted a drug trafficking operation that targeted the University of Texas (UT) students. At least 13 people were charged in connection with the scheme, including current and former UT students. Authorities reported that the drug ring sold counterfeit prescription drugs, claimed to be Adderall and Xanax, to students that were laced with methamphetamine and fentanyl. Adderall and Xanax are regulated and legitimate prescription medications that many students will purchase in the hopes that they will improve their studying and focus before major assignments or exams. Purchasing these drugs without a prescription is a crime in and of itself, but finding out that the regulated, FDA-approved medication is laced with dangerous substances was not what the students signed up for.
Varun Prasad, a 23-year-old current UT student, was arrested and accused of leading the drug operation since April 2019. Eight of the 13 people who were accused of working with Prasad are current or former UT students as well. The crew used social media to sell the laced drugs on and off UT’s Austin and San Antonio campuses. Since receiving a tip about the operation in early 2019, local officials noticed a spike in overdoses among UT students during the year-long investigation. Authorities also stated that a former UT San Antonio lecturer was also arrested for supplying the group with drugs. Those investigating the case estimate that the drug ring alone sold over $1 million of the illegal drugs.
What Are the Charges?
Those arrested were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Depending on the substances involved in the case, the severity of the drug charges will vary. In this case, fentanyl and methamphetamine fall under penalty group 2 within Texas legislation. Penalties for controlled substances within this group include 180 days to two years in jail for possessing less than one gram and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for possession of 400 grams or more in addition to $50,000 in fines.
Contact a Plano, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
University of Texas students come from all over the state and country, and depending on their age, they may still be considered a minor. If you are a student who was connected to this case, or are from the Fort Worth area and facing drug charges unrelated to this case, you need a reputable drug crimes defense attorney’s help. Those who are minors in Texas can face charges in adult court, depending on the circumstances, and drug charges like those outlined above will likely qualify if you are close to 18 years old. Our legal team believes that everyone deserves a second chance, and we will work tirelessly to reduce your sentence or have your charges dropped altogether. If you are facing drug charges, call our Collin County drug crimes defense lawyers at 214-303-9600 to schedule your free initial consultation.