Police arrest five related to West Philadelphia LSD ring


Drexel students were involved in buying drugs and informing police




Police busted a million-dollar LSD ring in West Philadelphia on Jan. 31, one considered by the Office of the District Attorney to be the biggest in over 15 years.

Drexel University’s Office of University Communications said in an official statement that after working with the District Attorney’s Dangerous Drug Offender Unit, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Philadelphia Police, five people — including two Drexel students — were arrested.

The unnamed Drexel student, who was arrested by Upper Moreland police based on marijuana and gun charges on Jan. 18, informed the police about an acid ring and permitted them to record a drug transaction over the phone between him and another Drexel student involved in the ring, according to the Office of the District Attorney’s press release.

The two students, who remain confidential informants, led the police to find the three ringleaders — Raphael Zappala, 33, Joshua Dassay, 31, and Wesley Crawford, 34 — and a supply of LSD at the 4800 block of Florence Street.

The drugs were hidden in a SpongeBob SquarePants children’s book, and police found 9500 hits of acid worth about $28,000 on the street. The drugs were sold on paper with images of Homer Simpson, the Kool-Aid Man and SpongeBob, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Office of the District Attorney believes the leaders of the drug ring had been selling LSD for over a year, primarily to Drexel students.

All three men are charged with conspiracy, intent to deliver and endanger the welfare of a child. Dassay’s infant was in the home during the drug ransactions. Dassay was wanted in nine states before his arrest. The two confidential informants still await their charges.

Both Drexel students were put on immediate interim suspension after assisting the police with the bust, and it remains to be seen whether the District Attorney’s office will be more lenient due to their cooperation.

“When Drexel is made aware of any students participating in illegal behavior, the University places them on indefinite suspension pending the outcome of the investigation by Philadelphia and Drexel police,” according to the statement.

The communications office declined to comment beyond the written statements.

“I just find it ironic that Drexel has a zero tolerance drug policy and they had a large drug organization operating right under their noses,” Drexel sophomore Emma Ryan said.

“I hope people don’t get the wrong impression of Drexel after this bust,” Drexel freshman Kenny Wittwer told Drexel’s student newspaper The Triangle.

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