One of the five suspects busted in an alleged LSD ring on Drexel's campus is the son of Iraq war activist Celeste Zappala.
Law enforcement officials conducted a raid last night and arrested Raphael Zappala, 33, of the 1000 block of 50th Street, Wesley Crawford, 34, of Ardmore, and Joshua Dassay, 31, of Florence Street. Two Drexel students were also arrested, but authorities did not release their names because they were confidential informants in the case.
Celeste Zappala confirmed her relation to Raphael Zappala, but declined to comment, saying she had just learned of the incident. She became a vocal opponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in Baghdad in 2004. Raphael Zappala had appeared with her at some events protesting the war.
Authorities said Raphael Zappala, Crawford and Dassay had been selling the drug on Drexel's campus for about a year for about $30 a hit. They estimate the ring may have netted about $4 million.
"There was a huge drug ring operating on Drexel's campus and we were only able to identify and infiltrate it because of cooperation with the Upper Moreland Police Department, Drexel University, the Philadelphia Police Department, the DEA and members of our Drug Enforcement Unit," District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference this afternoon.
The investigation began earlier this month after Upper Moreland police arrested a Drexel student for marijuana and gun charges who provided information about the drug ring. Upper Moreland officials contacted Philadelphia investigators who allegedly set up a buy from another Drexel student. That student allegedly led them to a third student who led them to Zappala and Crawford. Authorities conducted the final buy Monday night, which prompted the raid.
- PHOTOS: What's Brewing in Steamy Hallows, the Harry Potter-Inspired Cafe19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum doesn't hold back23 Pictures
Authorities recovered LSD with an estimated street value of $28,000, and $10,000 in cash. The drugs were disguised in colorful sheets depicting Homer Simpson, Jerry Garcia and Mr. Kool-Aid and concealed in a Sponge Bob Squarepants book, Grady said.
Officials believe Dassay was the source of the drugs in the area, and that he was getting his supply from the West Coast.
"Generally, these things all go back to California," Grady said after the news conference.