University Police officers seized a large quantity of marijuana last week in simultaneous raids of three Thurston Hall rooms.
UPD conducted at least two of the searches based on information from a freshman who now fears retaliation from several people that were cited for drug possession.
On Jan. 21, UPD officers searched the Thurston rooms and seized approximately 22 grams of marijuana, according to UPD crime reports. UPD officials said the searches were the result of an anonymous tip.
The freshman, who was himself given a drug violation three days before the Jan. 21 bust, said he gave information to University officials because he hoped that they would be lenient with him during his judicial process. But the student said University officials have given no indication that they would give him a lesser punishment.
The freshman formerly lived in Thurston with several students in a room where UPD found marijuana on Jan. 18 and 21.
Before giving information to UPD on Jan. 20, the freshman requested an emergency move from Thurston because he was concerned that his two roommates would continue to use drugs after they were all cited for drug possession on Jan. 18.
He also said that after the Jan. 21 raids, he received several threatening phone calls from people that were caught with drugs. He played one threatening message for The Hatchet.
UPD has issued a no-contact order between the informant and several Thurston students, the freshman and one student who was given the order said.
“My life is kind of ruined in a lot of ways, I am looking around corners, going the long way (home) now,” said the freshman, who requested anonymity because he feared retaliation from some students.
After an emergency transfer from Thurston to another dorm, which the freshman asked The Hatchet not to identify, he decided to give information to UPD and Student Judicial Services because he thought it might help with his impending drug charge.
On Jan. 18, UPD cited the informant and his roommates for smoking marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, according to the informant and a UPD crime report.
“I had never smoked up before in my entire life before I went to Thurston,” the informant said. “I was like an awkward kind of kid who didn’t fit in, I didn’t really have the closest or the most friends.”
Most students caught with drugs in their dorms are permanently kicked out of campus housing, a punishment that the informant said he would likely receive.
The informant became upset after his bust on Jan. 18 because he said his roommates were only worried about the lost financial value of the confiscated drugs and continued to smoke the following Tuesday and Wednesday.
On several days last week, the informant went to the SJS lobby “freaking out” because he was concerned about his punishment, he said. Eventually, after being allowed to see an administrator, the informant told his story. After hearing it, SJS officials offered to move him from Thurston immediately.
“I didn’t think they would get baked Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, the next morning I went to SJS and was like, ‘I got to get out,’ and they were like, ‘Okay,'” he said.
He said SJS did not make any promises or deals with him. The informant said an SJS administrator urged him to mention his cooperation during his Friday hearing. SJS director Tara Woolfson did not respond to phone messages or e-mails from The Hatchet.
“I told (the SJS administrator) I would rat out anyone; she said it wouldn’t really help me,” he said. “I wanted anything to save my (butt).”
The freshman said he was encouraged to share information about other drug users by a UPD officer. Stafford said the school did not make any sort of bargain with the informant.
“UPD does not make deals with people who anonymously report information,” Stafford wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. “We do not have the authority to determine the sanction imposed on anyone by SJS, thus a deal is not possible.”
UPD raided the informant’s sixth-floor room a second time on Jan. 21 – after he moved out – and simultaneously searched an additional two rooms on the eighth floor. The sixth-floor drug bust yielded four small bags, each of which contained one gram of marijuana. There was no evidence that the room’s residents intended to sell the drugs, Stafford said.
On the eighth floor, 18 grams of marijuana and paraphernalia were found.
“We got caught with a lot of pot, but not enough to deal,” said freshman Steve Kolbert, who lived in the room but was not cited for marijuana possession. “We didn’t have a lot of money lying around. We have a safe in the room, but my roommate keeps his iPod and some jewelry in there. I think he keeps a little bit of cash like $100, maybe $200 in case he can’t get to a bank or something.”
The informant is scared because of people he identified as members of the unrecognized fraternity APES – who were busted for drugs – have been making phone calls and sending instant messages to him. Several of the students cited for drug possession belong to APES, the informant and one APES member who was cited for drugs said. APES was kicked off campus several years ago for hazing and has since drawn the ire of University officials because of its recruiting tactics.
The informant’s former roommate and APES member Adam Leibowitz called the informant over the weekend but said he did not threaten him.
“I have tried to talk to this kid but haven’t been able to talk to him, and today I got a no-contact ordered,” Leibowitz, who was cited for marijuana possession said.
The informant said he believes the fraternity as a whole is targeting him, while other APES members either would not comment or denied making threats. Student Activities Center Director Tim Miller said he had no knowledge of any threats.
“We know nothing of that happening in the past three or four days,” Miller said. “If I do find out (about organized group harassment) we will address it as strongly as we typically do when something like that happens.”
Leibowitz said he did not make threatening comments to the informant and did not believe other fraternity members had either. He added that most of the fraternity’s upperclassmen were unaware of the marijuana busts.