MyFoxNY is reporting that five Columbia students were arrested today for drug dealing. Undercover NYPD officers bought a variety of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and LSD, from these students. The suppliers to these students were also arrested.
This has been an ongoing drug investigation that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly dubbed “Operation Ivy League.” Since July, undercover cops have made 31 purchases of LSD, marijuana, cocaine, Adderall, and ecstasy from students in AEPi, Psi U, and Pi Kappa Alpha (Pike). DNA Info reports that Chris Coles (CC ’12), Harrison David (SEAS ’12), Adam Klein (CC ’12), Joseph Stephen Perez (aka Stephan Vincenzo, CC ’12), and Michael Wymbs (SEAS ’11) have been arrested. The police found a list of “10 agenda items” on a wall at Psi U last night, including an eleventh that read “Don’t sell drugs out of the frat house” with a note that read “Adam should have followed this rule.”
The five students’ dorm rooms were searched last night and police found a bottle of LSD, 50 MDMA capsules, 15 Adderall pills, over half a pound of marijuana and about $2,000 in cash according to the NYPD’s press release.
City Room has more on the arrests of the students’ suppliers in the East Village. According to Deputy NYPD Commissioner Paul J. Browne, one of the suppliers, Miron Sarzynski, asked one of the undercover cops to help him “kidnap and torture rival cocaine dealers.”
As a possible consequence of this, a tipster has informed us that sororities have been instructed to take down Theta + Pike posters around campus and to remove Facebook photos taken from inside fraternity houses. At 1:40 PM, a Bwogger saw a girl tearing down posters on 114th Street for the Theta/Pike event.
The NYC Office of Special Narcotics has released an official statement detailing that over $11,000 of drugs were sold to undercover officers and that the five students arrested are expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court later today. NYPD’s table detailing CU students and their sales and charges is reprinted after the jump.
Update, 1:10 PM: Bwog just got off the phone with Mark Williams, the nationwide Psi U representative. Psi U has no official comment, but will continue to cooperate with the University to “get to the bottom of this.”
Update, 1:40 PM: Looks like people care about this besides us. There are hundreds of Tweets about the drug bust, as well as new stories on Gawker, MSNBC and the Las Vegas Sun (!)
Update, 2:45 PM: Dean Shollenberger has just sent out an email to all students concerning the drug bust. An excerpt from the email, pasted in its entirety after the jump: “The alleged behavior of the students involved in this incident goes against not only state and federal law, but also University policy and the principles we have set—and strive together to maintain—for our community. Please rest assured we are taking this matter very seriously.” Dean Shollenberger then outlines resources for drug and alcohol abuse and links to University policies on drug use. The University has no other comment at this time. Again, full email after the jump. Update update, 5:15 PM: Dean Denburg also sent to Barnard students a copy of Shollenberger’s statement, further emphasizing that “Barnard College policy fully supports New York State and federal law on the
use of controlled substances.”
Update, 3:15 PM: Anonymous witnesses report that police broke down locks in EC to arrest one of the students in his suite early this morning.
Update, 3:30 PM: The WSJ is reporting that two of the suppliers, Miron Sarzynski and his girlfriend Megan Asper are currently being held at Riker’s Island on $250,000 and $10,000 cash bail respectively. Sarzynski is the supplier accused of asking an undercover cop to assist him in kidnapping and torturing rival cocaine dealers.
Bwog has contacted ESC for comment on Mike Wymb’s former role on the council. ESC is not providing comment at this time.
Update, 4:45 PM: The Columbia chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy has released a statement, calling today a “sad day, because the real problems related to drug use that desperately need to be addressed, were not” and the events today the result of “poor policy.” The full statement is reprinted after the jump.
Update, 5:45 PM: Bwog has received comment from Jeffrey Fagan, a Columbia Law Professor currently on leave who specializes in Criminal Law, Drug Policy, and and Juvenile Justice. Fagan commented, “I would guess that (a) they have no priors and so they will get a big discount from the Court at sentencing, and the discount will be even bigger if (b) they give up what they know about the suppliers.” Fagan continued that much of their sentencing will have to do with the quality of their legal counsel. Bwog has learned that at least one of the arrested students has parents who practice law. Fagan commented that the “multiplicity of drugs they were selling” is a major strike against them. “This is way beyond an informal network of marijuana sales,” he said. Fagan noted that this will make it more difficult for the Manhattan DA to argue for the students.
We have also learned that ABC News is camped out at Manhattan Criminal Court downtown, and they report that as of 5:01 PM, the students were waiting arraignment, shackled together, some wearing Columbia fraternity sweatshirts.
Update, 5:55: Spec’s Alix Pianin reports that each of the students have pleaded not guilty. The judge has set the following bonds and bail for each:
- Harrison David: $75,000 bond, $50,000 cash
- Jose Stephan Perez: $30,000 bond, $20,000 cash
- Michael Wymbs: $35,000 bond, $25,000 cash
- Chris Coles: $40,000 bond, $25,000 cash
- Adam Klein: $35,000 bond, $25,000 cash
Apparently Wymbs’ parents arrived at Manhattan Criminal Court with a blank check, prepared to post bail. The students who don’t post bail will head to Riker’s tonight.
Below: Early this morning, a Bwog tipster found several cop cars and what appeared to be a riot car along Frat Row at about 6:30 AM. We are waiting for confirmation from the University, but we can speculate that the arrests took place very early this morning. Pictures of the scene at about 6:40 AM below. There is currently an NY1 news truck filming on Frat Row, as well as Public Safety officers stationed on 114th Street to ensure that reporters do not enter Frat Houses without the explicit permission of fraternity members.