By Rick Sallinger

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Facebook is a way for friends to keep in touch, but it has also become a marketplace for illegal drugs.

19-year-old Shawn Ortega of Lakewood was sentenced to four years to life in prison in a case that also involved a sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl as well as Facebook drug sales.

facebook drugs4 Facebook Used As Platform For Sale Of Drugs

(credit: Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department)

CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger spoke with the girl’s mother about Facebook drug sales.

“I had no idea that this existed and it’s terrifying,” she said.

One page the woman’s boyfriend showed us was offering ecstasy and LSD strips for sale, Xanax at 10 dollars a pill, and much more.

“We got white acid and snow listed here, typically cocaine,” the man showed on a “secret” Facebook site.

facebook drugs2 Facebook Used As Platform For Sale Of Drugs

(credit: CBS)

This man infiltrated these Facebook drug pages after Ortega sexually assaulted his girlfriend’s daughter. Ortega had been selling drugs on Facebook using aliases.

The mother’s boyfriend infiltrated those pages by using a fake profile.

“I was able to get into other private secret groups being used exclusively to buy and sell drugs,” he said.

facebook drugs3 Facebook Used As Platform For Sale Of Drugs

A victim speaks with CBS4. (credit: CBS)

The West Metro Drug Task Force was able to make a buy from Ortega through Facebook. It often involves clicking on “like” or using Facebook Messenger to arrange the deal. Ortega was arrested and put in jail, where he was able to post bail.

But the 19-year-old was even found to be selling drugs on Facebook while on bond.

He was convicted at a trial. His attorney asked that he be put on probation, but the judge in Jefferson County District court sent him to prison.

The victim’s mother told CBS 4, “He has absolutely no remorse and I want him to pay because my daughter is going to pay for the rest of her life for what he did.”

facebook drugs1 Facebook Used As Platform For Sale Of Drugs

A victim’s mother speaks with CBS4. (credit: CBS)

Last year the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office warned parents of these secret Facebook groups and asked the social media site to remove them from their pages, but they keep coming back.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award-winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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