MPD seizes cocaine in Thurston Hall

Metropolitan Police arrested a Thurston Hall resident Monday afternoon for possession of a “large quantity” of cocaine in their second drug seizure on the GW campus this year.

MPD would not disclose the exact quantity seized but reported that the individual will be charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Police also seized a notebook and an envelope with drug information.

An anonymous phone call to University Police led Community Living and Learning Center staff members to conduct an administrative search of room 902 in Thurston Hall. After a warning by CLLC staff to produce any illegal substances in the residents’ possession, one individual produced a bag containing a “white powdery substance,” UPD officials said.

MPD arrived on the scene and confiscated the bag, which tested positive for cocaine.

Witnesses reported seeing a male individual being led away in handcuffs by MPD and UPD officers.

” I wasn’t surprised when I saw him in handcuffs,” said one floor resident, who requested anonymity. “I kind of knew what he had been up to – everybody did.”

UPD officials acknowledged the rarity of a cocaine arrest on the GW campus, citing inability to detect its presence when patrolling the hallways.

“We don’t go into rooms unless we have reasonable suspicion that illegal activity is going on in there,” said UPD Inspector Ross Trimarchi. “We’re pretty helpless without information that leads us to possible suspects since cocaine is odorless, unlike other drugs such as marijuana.”

“It would be unrealistic to think that there’s no cocaine use on campus, but it would also be unrealistic to think that its use is as prevalent as marijuana or alcohol,” Trimarchi added.

About 9 percent of all federal drug sentences in Washington, D.C., involve powdered cocaine, according to a January 2002 report from the National Drug Intelligence Center. A gram of powdered cocaine sells for about $50 to $100, according to the report.

The arrest marks the first time this year that a GW student has been charged with possession of cocaine. It is the second time in a year that MPD arrested an individual in a GW residence hall for drug possession.
In March, MPD arrested then-sophomore and Fulbright Hall resident Christopher Schrader after a raid yielded 500 ecstasy pills and small amounts of hashish and marijuana.

The freshman arrested for cocaine faces the possibility of being suspended or expelled from the University, in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

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