Illegal drugs deals were made in the open using Craigslist and similar sites with the help of code names like “Roxy board shorts size 30” and “roofing tar” investigators revealed Friday.
San Diego County sheriff’s deputies explained the code system uncovered as part of a five-month investigation called Operation.com.
Officials say dealers would use the brand “Roxy” to list the painkiller Roxicodone for sale and “size 30” would signify 30 mg. “Roofing tar” was used to list heroin.
Nineteen people were arrested after deputies made undercover buys of prescription drugs, heroine, methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy. Officials say they also seized $25,000 in cash as a result of five search warrants served between November 2013 and April 2014.
Commander Mike Barletta credited the idea behind the operation to simple research by one deputy who used Google to search for current drug terminology. The department found Urban Dictionary to be a good reference guide, the commander told NBC 7. “This is the wave of the future, we believe, Internet sales. It’s cleaner, a little safer for them. They are advertising online their wares for sale rather than standing on a corner,” Barletta said. “We can’t shut down the Internet so we’re going to have to devote resources to this kind of operation,” he said.
The suspects, ranging in age from 26 to 46, were students or unemployed, deputies told NBC 7.
The defendants now face charges including conspiracy, possession of controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to sell, officials said.
Deputies said more arrests were expected.
Elena Gomez and R. Stickney
NBC-7 San Diego
May 9, 2014
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