Christina Aguilera
A New York drug ring allegedly used the code words "Christina Aguilera" to mean cocaine. Creative Commons/Nick Stepowyj

To an alleged New York drug ring, "Christina Aguilera" meant cocaine, not pop star.

A suspected drug trafficking ring that was busted in upstate New York used secret code words, including “Christina Aguilera” for cocaine and “Britney” for crack, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday in announcing the charges against 25 people following a 10-month investigation.

One of the defendants, 36-year-old Christopher Massey, of Albany, New York, was charged as a “major trafficker,” New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. Massey faces life in prison if convicted.

“Drug traffickers who threaten our communities and inflict untold harm on countless families will be brought to justice,” Schneiderman said. “This investigation has shut down a major drug network allegedly responsible for the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal drugs in our neighborhoods, and we will continue to put drug traffickers and kingpins behind bars, where they belong.”

The ring allegedly dealt heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy, morphine and illegal prescription medications between New York City and the Capital Region of the state. The attorney general’s office said the ring “allegedly made extensive use of code words when communicating about drugs and drug activity.”

When talking about powdered cocaine, the drug ring used the code word “Christina Aguilera,” according to Schneiderman. When crack cocaine was discussed, the group used the word “Britney.”

“The extensive use of code words suggests the extent defendants went to in an effort to obscure their alleged criminal activities,” the attorney general’s office said.

In some cases, the defendants dealt drugs in view of their children, according to Schneiderman. When his office searched the home of one defendant, “his two daughters were present in a house full of cocaine located in plain view. Other defendants allegedly left children alone or unattended.”

The office said the drugs were trafficked in New York City and several counties, including Albany, Montgomery, Oneida, Rensellaer, Rockland, Saratoga and Schenectady.