Party Boy Columbia Drug Dealer On ‘Rock Center’ Tonight

It’s been almost two years since “Operation Ivy League,” the NYPD sting that found five Columbia University students selling over $10,000 in cocaine, pot, ecstasy, Adderall, and LSD to undercover cops. Tonight, one of the Columbia Five — Stephan Vincenzo, the cool one — will be on NBC’s Rock Center to speak about drugs and stuff.

As a refresher on Vincenzo’s cred, you can check out this Blue and White profile, or the Gawker writeup on “da sickest party” (sans booze) he attempted to throw his freshman year. Or, just admire his modeling shots.

Video preview of his interview below:

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Four of the “Columbia Five” Turn Down No-Jail Plea Deals

When we last left the Operation Ivy League saga, the undercover cop who busted the Columbia University drug dudes was getting busted for his own illegal activities. (By the way, I wonder how those court testimonies will play out for Mr. Palase … My money’s on “really awkward.”)

So here are the latest developments, courtesy of the great people at Bwog (check them out for full coverage of the court hearings):

The State, citing the defendants’ lack of criminal records and non-violent personalities, recommended plea deals for all of the defendants: If Coles, Klein, Wymbs, and Perez would plead guilty to a class-D felony they would be sentenced to 5 years probation, but no jail time. David would plead guilty to a B-2 felony and get 1 year of jail time.

The defense rejected these pleas, out of concern that a felony conviction could make it almost impossible for them to get admitted to another university and eventually find good jobs. 

Yes, exactly, because if these guys manage to wiggle out of felony convictions, I’m sure that universities and employers all across the country will be welcoming them with open arms, since the hundreds of articles written about their drug escapades aren’t searchable by Google or anything …

Seriously, though, they’re giving you the option of no jail time! Take the offer! These guys are the same types of people that I yell at whenever I’m watching Deal or No Deal in my living room:

“Just take the money and run, you idiot! The banker’s giving you a good deal! The odds are against you! NOOOOO!”

Additionally, the attorneys for the Columbia Five are arguing that their clients sold drugs to fund their own drug addictions, rather than to make a profit, and are seeking a “diversion of treatment.”

… Riiight. Well, in any event, we hope that these young men have damn good lawyers. I’m talking about “Jackie Chiles from Seinfeld” good. They’re going to need it.


Cop Who Busted Columbia Drug Ring Gets Busted for Own Illegal Gambling Ring

This one comes from the “So Ironic It Hurts” Department…

I’m sure you all remember Operation Ivy League, the “Columbia Five,” and MISSION: Hmm, It Appears that the D.A.R.E. Program Was Not Too Effective After All. (Okay, I may have made up that last one.)

Well, it turns out that one of the detectives central to the case, 46-year-old Richard Palase, was recently arrested for running a covert gambling operation that took in 6,000 smackers a day. The Columbia Spectator provides us with this hilarious gem:

Around this time last year, Palase…was so convincingly shady as an undercover cop that he got the downtown drug suppliers of the Columbia Five to confide to Palase a plot to kidnap a rival drug dealer.

Now we know where that shadiness came from.

I guess the moral of the story is “Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self,” or maybe “Don’t screw with Columbia.” I’m not really sure … I’m too busy laughing hysterically.

Five Columbia Students Get Busted For Dealing Drugs

Holy fuck, Gossip Girl is real. The NYPD took five students from Columbia downtown in handcuffs this morning, on the grounds that they’d been operating a drug ring on campus that sold illegal substances to frats and Columbia residences.

The New York Times reports that the five students–Chris Coles, Harrison David, Adam Klein, Jose Stephan Perez (also known as Stephan Vincenzo) and Michael Wymbs–were arrested for selling nearly $11,000 in drugs to undercover police officers over the last semester. The investigation, which was (no joke) called Operation Ivy League, also rooted out a couple of hipsters in Bed-Stuy and the Village that were serving as the group’s suppliers.

The jollies of choice included cocaine, pot, ecstasy, Adderall and LSD–which, according to the NYT, came in the appetizing form of souped-up Altoids and SweetTarts. Presumably that was the first big clue that a drug ring was operating on campus, because no one on earth actually eats Altoids and SweetTarts unless they’re literally marinated in drug juice.

Wymbs who is a sophomore at Columbia’s Engineering School, apparently served as the Engineering Student Council’s veep and academic affairs rep, not to mention 2011 class vice president. and Vincenzo, meanwhile, has gotten some interesting press in the Columbia Spec Columbia’s Blue and White and Bwog in the past, and ironically just recently completed a documentary on Four Loko prohibition. (Which goes to show that Four Loko, despite being banned, remains the root of all collegiate evil.)

Most of the skeezetastic transactions went down in the dark, cold, back alleyways of three frat houses: Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi), Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike) and Psi Upsilon (PsiU). The Spec has more details, plus a few shiny charts, about the charges that each student is facing and his frat affiliations (where applicable). The dealers are scheduled to appear in court this afternoon, presumably for arraignment. Keep your eye on the Spec and on DNAinfo for up-to-the-minute news.

Substance abuse is becoming the topic du jour at Columbia these days, particularly given that yesterday evening Barnard’s Student Government Association passed a resolution supporting a campus-wide smoking ban–which comes in the wake of another resolution last week by the Columbia University Senate to bar smoking within 20 feet of campus buildings.

You know, a drug bust might be just the thing that Columbia might need to get students socializing with each other. Assuming the drugs weren’t already doing the trick.

by Peter Finocchiaro and Eve Binder