APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — A 19-year-old was arrested Thursday after a traffic stop revealed he was selling drugs via social media, according to a news release from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
After a traffic stop, a warrant was obtained to search the Apex home of William Garrett Patterson. Deputies found LSD, codeine, marijuana, and oxycodone, with a street value of over $17,000, the news release said.
Experts say it comes as no surprise that the illegal drug market has made its way to social media.
“It’s highly unfortunate and tragic, but it’s not terribly surprising because that’s how they’re communicating with each other today,” said Melanie Diehl, a social media manager.
Studies show Snapchat is the number one app used to buy and sell drugs because users feel more secure since messages automatically disappear.
“They do disappear within 24 hours,” said Diehl. “There are other monitoring apps parents can download to their phones.”
Diehl says with social media available to teens constantly, parents have a much tougher time protecting their children.
“The first thing we have to do is make sure we’re monitoring all the things that our children are participating in, monitoring social media apps, some of the more popular apps with the young people today –Snapchat, Instagram, Ticktock,” Diehl said. “It’s important in my professional opinion that we as parents have an agreement before we ever even hand over a phone.”
Diehl thinks every parent should have their teens social media passwords.
“Some kids might have a second profile so we have to make sure that we’re really monitoring the conversations and everything and just be aware and start having these conversations when they’re 9 and 10 years old,” Diehl said.
Patterson is charged with manufacturing a Schedule VI controlled substance, trafficking in LSD, and trafficking opium or heroin, records show.
He is being held at the Wake County Detention Center under a $300,000 secured bond. Deputies have not said which social media app Patterson used.