Operation Ivy League Actually Happened in 1973

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On December 7th, 2010, five Columbia students were arrested for allegedly dealing marijuana, LSD, cocaine, Adderall and ecstasy. Four of the five students arrested were members of fraternities. They were arrested after allegedly selling drugs to an undercover cop. This is a story you now know well.

Exactly thirty-seven years earlier, on December 7, 1973, five Columbia students were arrested for allegedly dealing cocaine and marijuana. All five of the students arrested were members of two fraternities: Beta Theta Pi and Delta Phi. They were arrested after allegedly selling drugs to an undercover cop. This is a story you may not have heard before. Bwog heard the story from an alum who was a freshman in 1973, and found the Crimson article which confirmed the details.

The harsh Rockefeller drug laws, which had gone into effect just months before the 1973 arrest, maintained a “one strike and you’re out rule” for drug dealing. All five students spent time in infamously brutal Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. Bwog is still digging up all the details we can find on this, but—good gravy!—history repeats itself we guess.

Update, 12/24: Here’s a Times article from December 21, 1973, on the two students arrested for dealing cocaine. Both students were on the wrestling team and members of Beta. The students—because there aren’t enough coincidences in this case—were unrelated and named Sean O’Neill and Robert O’Neill. They sold four ounces of cocaine to an undercover cop who posed as a  student and moved into the Beta house. The other three students were Richard Becker, a senior charged with selling four pounds of marijuana to the undercover agent, Nicolas Delancie who was the President of Delta Phi and sold 15 ounces of marijuana, and Roman Luis, a sophomore charged with selling marijuana and cocaine.

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  1. December 7th

    A date which will live in infamy...

  2. OMG

    I got in trouble that day too two years ago.

  3. Another good point  

    The Rockefeller Drug Laws were repealed a couple of months ago. Columbia arrests are bookends for the NYPD's stupidest laws.

  4. spec

    is there a spec news article on this? or do news archives online don't reach that far back?

    • pico

      Spectator online doesn't go back that far. But there are Spectator archives that go back several decades on the fourth floor of Butler. There are also computers there that allow for the scanning of those archives. I'd check them out myself if I were still on campus... this would be a good project for Bwog, maybe even an interesting Bwog/B&W ongoing feature (i.e. what happened today fifty years ago, etc.)

  5. And don't forget this Columbia frat folly

    I got home for Christmas today and my oldest brother was telling me about this frat arrest when he was on campus back in the day.

    The ZBT sports bookie

  6. yo

    when do grades come out? is there a set date by which they'll all be out?

  7. Anonymous

    Bwog, 4 of the arrested guys were in fraternities (one didn't live in his house but still is a member)

  8. Sigma Phi Epsilon

    is still the best.


    get a fucking life. don't you have better shit to do other than perusing the crime archives going back to decades just to arrest someone on the exact same day as a past historical event?

    fuck you. nice use of tax dollars there. there are real crime to be solved in new york city.

    • indeed

      it must have been orchestrated to happen on that day intentionally. if you create a stochastic model (using the basic memoryless assumptions of brownian motion), you can use a poisson distribution to model an arrest of 5 students on any given day. thus, the chance that these would statistically have happened on the december 7 is .27%, or about a third of one percent, which is statistically insignificant. Q.E.D.

  10. haha

    the ny times article is written by michael kaufman, another current fratboy here

  11. Anonymous

    I got my first C+... =[

  12. Anonymous

    4 pounds?!? get emmmm daddy

  13. yo you

    bitchesss be hatin' my comments

  14. ...  

    anyone else getting bombed on Christmas?

  15. CC 11

    I don't know about Roman Luis, but the head of the Broadway Democrats is Luis Roman, and I think he went to Columbia.

  16. Anonymous

    yep, this is the same Nicolas De Lancie

    sounds like he turned out alright.. he graduated on time and he's a hotshot lawyer now. just further confirms to me that the current "Columbia Five" will be just fine years down the line

  17. ad

    Where are they now? I'm sure it hasn't hindered them as much as we presently think OIL will affect the 5 who were recently arrested. Then again there was no Internet back then... Bwog, write about this!

  18. FYI

    Mr. De Lancie is a partner in Lofton De Lancie, a San Francisco law firm. He graduated from Columbia University and received a law degree from the University of California at Davis.

  19. WTF?!

    "They sold four ounces of cocaine to an undercover cop who posed as a student and moved into the Beta house."

    ...wait, what?

    I wonder if they were ever beer pong partners...

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