Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
By Kalhan Rosenblatt

A California college student allegedly created an app so he could sell drugs on campus, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Collin Howard, 18, of Sunnyvale, was indicted Thursday on charges he possessed and distributed cocaine and methamphetamine, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

The University of California, Santa Cruz student allegedly developed the "Banana Plug" app — a play on the school's mascot, Sammy the banana slug — on which students could request drugs such as cocaine, “Molly,” and “Shrooms,” according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Posters advertising the app, which was available on the Apple App Store, were hung on the Santa Cruz campus, according to the press release.

A UC Santa Cruz police officer spotted the poster and, working in coordination with Homeland Security Investigations, allegedly used the app to buy marijuana and cocaine from Howard, and then used Snapchat to set up the drug deal.

An undercover HSI agent made the purchase and then allegedly continued to communicate with Howard. The agent made several more purchases, including 5 grams of methamphetamine, before arresting Howard, according to the press release.

On Friday, Howard was arrested on four charges stemming from the distribution and possession of drugs.

He was released after his initial appearance in court Tuesday. It was not immediately clear if an attorney had been hired or a public defender assigned to Howard.

Howard faces a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years, and as much as $10 million in fines.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.