A freshman at the University of California Santa Cruz created an app with the slogan, "We Have What You Want." Police allege the “what” in that statement was illegal drugs.
"Banana Plug," through which users allegedly could purchase illicit substances like cocaine, marijuana, “shrooms,” “molly,” and other drugs by special request, was created by 18-year-old Collin Howard. The app, disguised as a game and made available through Apple's App Store, was advertised on flyers around the school's campus. The app’s name is a play on the UCSC mascot, the Banana Slug.
Undercover Homeland Security Investigations agents were able to purchase various drugs via the app and Snapchat communications with Howard on three separate occasions, according to a news release from the Northern District of California’s Attorney’s Office. Howard was arrested at his dorm room on Nov. 28 during a fourth interaction.
Howard was indicted on four counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine on Feb. 14. He has since pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was released from police custody on bail on Feb. 19.
If he is found guilty, Howard potentially faces decades in prison and millions in fines.
University spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason confirmed that Howard will no longer be attending the school but did not specify if he was expelled or voluntarily withdrew, citing privacy laws, according to NBC Bay Area.
Howard will next appear in court on Friday.
The app has since been removed from the iTunes store as of Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
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