An associate professor at Cal State San Bernardino led a methamphetamine distribution ring that put multiple pounds of the drug on the street every week, sheriff's investigators said Thursday.Must have been really popular with the students.
Steve Kinzey, 43, of Highland, also a chapter president of the outlaw motorcycle gang, The Devil's Diciples, remained at large Thursday but 11 people suspected of distributing drugs for him have been arrested, authorities said.
"Hopefully, we can get our main suspect in custody in the next few days," said Sheriff Rod Hoops at a news conference at his headquarters in San Bernardino.
The investigation began six months ago during a federal undercover operation involving outlaw biker clubs in the county.
Sheriff's deputies, along with the FBI and San Bernardino police, launched the "Devil's Professor" investigation when they identified Kinzey as a suspect involved in criminal activity, authorities said.
Deputies said Kinzey is president of the San Bernardino Mountains chapter of the Devil's Diciples, a group founded in Fontana in 1967.
Kinzey purchased large amounts of meth from Jeremy Disney, 30, of San Bernardino and distributed ounce quantities to Redlands residents Eric Cortez, 31, and Chelsea Johnson, 34, who then split the drugs into smaller amounts for mid-level and street-level dealers, said sheriff's Detective Jason Rosenbaum.
Kinzey, who has taught kinesiology at Cal State San Bernardino for 10 years, had leather vests emblazoned with the Devil's Diciples logo, military body armor, brass knuckles and a number of firearms at his home, deputies said.
They said the weapons included a sniper rifle and an AP-9 pistol and that one of the guns was stolen from Los Angeles.
Paraphernalia with neo-Nazi symbols, including a black flag with SS bolts, also were seized, deputies said.
The District Attorney's Office has contacted Kinzey's attorney, authorities said, but it is unknown if arrangements have been made for his surrender.
"I believe he does have the ability to flee the country," said Rosenbaum, "because there are (Devil's Diciples) chapters in other countries. He also has family out of state.
Detectives said they are trying to determine if Kinzey sold drugs at the university.
"I have kids in college," said Hoops, "and to have an associate professor who is a member of the Devil's Disciples dealing narcotics - it's alarming."
Authorities notified university officials on Thursday morning about the bust.
Kinzey has not been placed on administrative leave, officials said, because his teaching contract runs in 10-month cycles, meaning he wouldn't return to work until the middle of this month.
"By the start of the academic year, we should be in more of a position to make a more informed decision," said university spokesman Sid Robinson.
"If the allegations are indeed true, this is beyond disappointing," he added.