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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Five Columbia University students were arrested on Tuesday on charges of running a drug ring in fraternity houses at the prestigious school, police said.
The students, accused of selling cocaine, marijuana, LSD and prescription drugs, were busted after undercover narcotics officers bought nearly $11,000 worth of drugs from them in a five-month operation, the New York Police Department said.
The investigation was dubbed "Operation Ivy League," police said.
Arrested along with the students were three people accused of supplying the drugs, including Miron Sarzynski, 24, who also faces charges he attempted to kidnap two rival cocaine dealers he believed owed him money, police said.
Sarzynski tried to hire an undercover officer to help him grab the two dealers, hold them for ransom and torture them by force-feeding them LSD, police said. He also threatened to kill them if the ransom was not paid, police said.
"The fact that a supplier to the Columbia students was willing to kill his rivals should demolish any argument that drugs on campus is a victimless crime," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
"This is no way to work your way through college," he said.
The students allegedly operated the drug ring at three fraternity houses and at dormitories at Columbia's campus in Manhattan, authorities said.
During raids early on Tuesday, police said they seized stashes of LSD, tablets of MDMA or so-called ecstasy, Adderall, a drug often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, marijuana and some $2,000 in cash.
Police said Sarzynski allegedly manufactured narcotics at his apartment in downtown Manhattan with the help of his girlfriend, Megan Asper, 22, who they said specialized in growing marijuana.
Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr.; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton