University of California Santa Cruz freshman is accused of creating app called 'Banana Plug' to sell cocaine and meth

A Northern California college freshman has been indicted on federal drug charges  for allegedly creating an iPhone app he dubbed the 'Banana Plug' to sell cocaine, methamphetamine and hallucinogenic mushrooms. 
Collin Howard on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to four federal felony counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine in San Jose.  
Howard had earlier pleaded not guilty to similar drug charges in Santa Cruz County. 
According to a statement from the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, the 18-year-old named the app Banana Plug and hung posters advertising it on the University of California at Santa Cruz campus. 
The school's mascot is the banana slug and 'plug' is slang term for drug dealer.
Prosecutors say a campus police officer noticed the posters late last year and started an undercover operation with federal authorities. 


Undercover officers set up four drug buys using the app and Howard was arrested in his dorm room on November 28, 2018.
An affidavit filed by a Homeland Security Investigations agent in connection with a search warrant alleges that Howard's app, which was available on the Apple App Store, offered for sale 'Molly' and 'Shrooms.' 
The app, billed as a free game with the motto 'We Have What You Want,' also invited customers to make special requests.
After discovering the posters promoting the 'Banana Plug,' the UC police officer, working with federal officials, used the app to order marijuana and cocaine, and then reached out to 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 more drug buys, according to the statement. The third and fourth purchases were for more than 5 grams of methamphetamine. 
At the fourth meeting, UC Santa Cruz police officers arrested Howard.
Howard made his initial court appearance on Tuesday, after which he was released. on bail. He is due back in court on Friday for a bail hearing. 
If convicted of all the counts against him, the 18-year-old could face a maximum of up to 120 years in prison and $12million in fines. 
UCSC spokesman Scott Hernandez-Jason said Howard is “no longer a student UC Santa Cruz.” Citing student privacy laws, Hernandez-Jason declined to say if Howard was expelled or voluntarily withdrew. 
University of California Santa Cruz freshman is accused of creating app called 'Banana Plug' to sell cocaine and meth University of California Santa Cruz freshman is accused of creating app called 'Banana Plug' to sell cocaine and meth Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 03:19 Rating: 5

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