Earlier this week, 18 year old NAU student Francisco Curiel was charged for selling and possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Why was he selling? Allegedly, to pay for books. Although on a full ride to Northern Arizona University, Curiel supposedly had an outstanding balance of $600 to pay for books and materials. After a room search, police found two bags of powder and plastic tubes with cocaine residue. He and his roommate, Damian Hernandez, were both arrested with charges of possession and sale of narcotics and paraphernalia.
Last year Census data revealed that 72 percent of undergraduate college students worked a job while in school to pay for costs that financial aid does not cover. Though typical jobs include working at a coffee shop, waiting tables or retail, some students are opting to take the non-traditional route by selling drugs since the drastic change in opinion of the legalization of marijuana. According to Pew Research Center, support for marijuana legalization is rapidly outpacing opposition with a majority (53%) of Americans in support of legalization. Growing support is evidenced by four states who have already legalized marijuana, including: Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska. Furthermore, there is a handful of other states looking to pursue similar suit, such as: Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Ohio. These statistics however, give no insight as to people's opinions on the selling of heavier drugs, such as cocaine.
While there are monetary benefits to selling drugs such as reducing or eliminating college debt, student dealers admit there are severe consequences if caught selling. One anonymous student at Boise State claimed, "If I get thrown in jail, my bail is going to be more than what I make." An undercover detective with the Boise Police Department stresses the importance in avoiding such involvement, as it could cost a year sentence in prison or felony charge. Felony charges drastically affect future career opportunities and felons risk unemployment. Often the "middle man" is charged with the same sentence as the seller. The detective urges students to continue applying for scholarships and constantly talking to college financial aid offices for more monetary assistance.
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