Students at New York’s Columbia University are in a panic after learning the drug payments they made to their dealer through Venmo may be accessible by police, Capital New York reported.
The alleged dealer, Columbia sophomore Michael Getzler, was arrested on April 2 on five drug-related charges, including criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, according to Capital.
In addition to hand-to-hand transactions, Getzler allegdly accepted payment for drugs via the electronic pay site Venmo, which allows users to pay each other in seconds by linking to their personal bank account or debit card.
All Venmo transactions are public, which is why students are so worried their alleged drug dealer’s public Venmo page is now in the hands of police.
Getzler only accepted Venmo payments if his buyers wrote a “funny” description of what they were purchasing.
Transaction descriptions on Getzler’s Venmo page range from “cookies” to “THE THURSDAY TURNUP.”
It is unclear whether Venmo will give up any incriminating information about Getzler’s clients, saying only: “We work collaboratively with law enforcement when appropriate to help ensure that Venmo is a safe place to send and receive money,” according to Capitol.
Two days before Getzler’s arrest, an anonymous op-ed was published in the Columbia Spectator detailing what it was like to be a drug dealer on Columbia’s campus.
“Weed, edibles, MDMA, coke — I have sold all of these over the past week, in staggering amounts,” the anonymous student wrote, according to Capitol. “Several hundred students (and I would call that a conservative estimate) will be smoking my weed this Saturday. There will be more than 100 students rolling on MDMA, thanks to me alone.”
Though the author remained anonymous, students reportedly speculated in the article’s comments section that Getlzer had written the piece.
The author — writing just two days before Getzler’s arrest — claimed he was going to quit selling drugs: “I find something so fulfilling and exciting in being the person that people rely on for fun. … And yet, despite how exhilarating a ride it has been, I’m calling it quits. … if any law enforcement group were to turn its focus back on our campus, I would be a top target.”
Perhaps it was perfectly fitting that The Spectator was the first to report on Getzler’s arrest.