Student arrested for intent to distribute drugs after complaint

Metropolitan Police officers arrested a student Tuesday in City Hall for marijuana and psychedelic drug possession with intent to sell – three days after the University warned of a behavior crackdown in that building.

University Police Chief Kevin Hay said officers seized 40 grams of marijuana, five grams of psilocybin mushrooms and one pill of the seizure medication clonazepam, after responding to an anonymous complaint of two residents smoking marijuana on their balcony at 6:40 p.m.

The University warned residents on Oct. 6 that balcony usage could be banned if noise and smoking complaints continued, following five reports of students engaging in inappropriate behavior like smoking and throwing objects.

Hay said he does not anticipate that balconies in City Hall will be closed as a result of this complaint.

Officers arrived and “observed the smell of burning marijuana” coming from a fourth floor room, according to Metropolitan Police Department documents.

Following a search by a GW Housing Programs staff member, officers found $762 in Kevin Welch’s desk drawer, along with “multiple bags of drugs” in his backpack, according to the documents.

Welch was the eighth student arrested on campus for drugs this academic year and the sixth charged with intent to sell – a stark increase from the last academic year, when only one student was arrested the first month of school for intent to distribute drugs.

As of Friday, Welch did not have a case pending in D.C. Superior Court. Leah Gurowitz, a spokeswoman for D.C. courts, said a citation for a drug-related arrest may not be entered into the system until a day or two before a court appearance, which could be a couple of weeks following the arrest.

Earlier this month, the University released its crime statistics for the 2011 calendar year, showing a four-case uptick in drug arrests for the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses compared to 2010.

Gabriel Slifka, director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, said then that more students have been reporting suspected drug usage for safety and health concerns – a trend Hay said he also observed.

Welch declined to comment for this article.

Julie Alderman and Matthew Kwiecinski

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