Columbia Students Could Face Charges After Paying for Drug Deals on Venmo

By May Wilkerson 04/17/15

A prominent dealer wrote an anonymous op-ed describing rampant drug use on campus.

Columbia University

A group of Columbia students are reportedly “in a panic” after learning that police may have access to the payments they made to their drug dealer through Venmo, a public money-transfer site.

Alleged dealer Michael Getzler, a sophomore at Columbia University in New York, was arrested on April 2 on five drug-related charges. Getzler is believed to have accepted drug payments from students using Venmo, a website which allows users to instantly transfer money by linking to their personal bank accounts.

Since all Venmo transactions are public, Getzler’s page is visible to anyone, including the police. Buyers used “funny” code words to describe their transactions on the page, including “THE THURSDAY TURNUP” and “cookies.”

It remains unclear if Venmo will release identifying information about Getzler's clients. But if they do, it could incriminate the students involved. "We work collaboratively with law enforcement when appropriate to help ensure that Venmo is a safe place to send and receive money," said the site.

Two days before Getzler's arrest, the Columbia Spectator published an anonymous op-ed by a campus drug dealer, who some students suspect was Getzler.

"Weed, edibles, MDMA, coke—I have sold all of these over the past week, in staggering amounts,” wrote the anonymous author. "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."

In the op-ed, the author claimed they intended to stop selling drugs. “Despite how exhilarating a ride it has been, I’m calling it quits,” they wrote. “If any law enforcement group were to turn its focus back on our campus, I would be a top target."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.