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Alleged Snapchat drug dealer busted

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It's a popular social media app. So popular in fact, you can purchase illegal drugs.

The problem. Those drugs could kill you.

Snapchat is a messaging app where you can send pictures and video, and then disappear after 24 hours. Or do they?

"This is the number one platform right now where drugs are being sold and traded," an officer with the Counter Narcotics Alliance a multi-agency law enforcement unit said.

The officer works with an undercover unit closely monitoring Snapchat drug sales. He asked we protect his identity.

He said the dealers often advertise they are selling legal medications.

"A lot of times, they will advertise they're real prescription pills," he said. "But the thing is unless you're getting it from a pharmacy, you never know what you're buying."

Tucson Police Detective Dan Roberts assigned to CNA's Narcotic and Violent Crime Unit just got a four-count indictment for 22-year-old Aaron Steven Kay.

The charges ranged from sale of a narcotic drug to manslaughter.

Last September, Roberts said there was an overdose death of a 25-year-old man.

Detectives went through his cell phone.  

"We were able to identify who sold him an M-30 pill the night before," Roberts said.

That person was 22-year-old Aaron Steven Kay. He was arrested in October for selling drugs. He bonded out.

While out on bond in January, Roberts said, "He was using snapchat to sell narcotics, specifically M-30 pills."

Undercover officers made two buys of M-30 pills from him using Snapchat on January 25 and again on Feb. 2.

"Each time they bought from Aaron Kay, they bought 20 pills for $175," Roberts said.

The pills contained fentanyl.

According to officials, just one can kill people, like the 25-year-old victim who overdosed from the M-30 pill Aaron Kay reportedly sold to him.

But it's not just M-30's being sold on Snapchat, according to Roberts.

"Heroin, cocaine, anything, especially the pills. You're taking a chance that it's not laced with fentanyl," he said. "They're starting to see heroin laced with fentanyl."

Roberts said another concern is that "teenagers are buying it online and delivered to their house and parents are completely unaware."

The Counter Narcotics Alliance is urging parents to check their teenager's phone.

If they have Snapchat, monitor the activity and have a conversation about the dangers of buying drugs. It could save a life.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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