College student allegedly created app to sell drugs

‘Banana Plug’ was even available in Apple’s app store

College student allegedly created app to sell drugs
'Banana Plug' was a drug-dealing app disguised as a game, police claim.

SANTA CRUZ, CA KGO/CNN) - College campuses are often the launching point for some of the most popular apps and websites in the world.

But the Justice Department said at University of California Santa Cruz, an app called “Banana Plug” was facilitating the sale of illegal drugs.

According to local media, it was designed to look like a gaming app and was even available on Apple's app store.

It all came crashing down after a sting operation ended with the student’s arrest Friday.

Collin Howard, 18, from Sunnyvale, was arrested Friday in a joint sting operation with UC Santa Cruz Police and Homeland Security.

They were tipped off by posters put up around campus advertising “Banana Plug.”

The university’s mascot is the “banana slug.” “Plug” is often used as a slang term for someone from whom you can get drugs.

The Justice Department alleged Howard developed the app disguised as a game, but the real purpose was facilitating the sale of illegal drugs, including cocaine, “molly” and “shrooms.”

An affidavit also said customers were invited to make special requests.

The Justice Department said an undercover sting with multiple drug buys ended with Howard being arrested last week.

He's charged with four counts of distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine.

Some students said this is the first time they’d heard of the app.

“I do know that certain people try to get around things and find certain loopholes into things, so I’m not surprised that someone’s done this, but it is definitely extreme,” Simita Patel said.

“That’s the first time I’ve actually heard of someone actually making an app to promote their drug business," Isaiah Cruz said. "I don’t know, that just sounds silly to me putting up posters all around campus, like ‘Come buy drugs from me.’ Yeah, I don’t know. I’m not surprised he got taken down.”

Howard was released after a Tuesday court appearance. He could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines if convicted.

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