We love a good pun and a crime caper, but an app called Banana Plug has landed a UC Santa Cruz student under federal indictment for selling molly, ‘shrooms, and cocaine.
Just to explain the joke, the banana slug has been UC Santa Cruz’ official mascot since 1986, so Santa Cruz student Collin Howard used his wit in naming an app he developed, Banana Plug. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was not amused that the app was allegedly a front for selling cocaine, ecstasy, meth, and psylocybin, and arrested the 18-year-old freshman on charges of possession and distribution. Howard was indicted Tuesday in federal court.
The kid has actually had the app in the iOS App Store since last October, according to Apple Insider. Banana Plug displayed the tagline “We Have What You Want,” and users would tap little banana tiles into electric plug icons in ways that federal authorities allege “offered for sale contraband, including cocaine, ‘Molly,’ and ‘Shrooms.’”
According to Howard’s indictment, “Posters advertising the application had been hung up around the UC Santa Cruz campus. Upon discovering the posters and the application, a UC Santa Cruz police officer, in coordination with HSI [Homeland Security Investigations], used the application to request a purchase of marijuana and cocaine and then communicated with Howard via Snapchat to set up the purchase. An undercover HSI agent made that purchase and separately continued to communicate with Howard on Snapchat to set up three additional purchases of controlled substances.”
Homeland Security claims their undercover agent bought five grams of meth from Howard on multiple occasions, then UC Santa Cruz police arrested him on their fourth meeting.
Howard was arrested last Friday, and is currently out on bail. His bail review is scheduled for this Friday. If ultimately convicted, Howard faces between five to 40 years in prison and up to $10 million in fines.