Wesleyan students appear in court on party drug charges
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) They were studying to be doctors and scientists, but police say four Wesleyan University students arrested this week also are known on campus as drug dealers.
The four are charged in connection with the distribution of a bad batch of the party drug known as Molly. Authorities said 11 people, including 10 Wesleyan students, some of whom had attended a rave music show Saturday night, went to hospitals for medical attention last weekend.
Eric Lonergan, 22, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and 20-year-old Rama Agha Al Nakib, a Syrian national, were released Wednesday after posting $50,000 bonds. Zachary Kramer, 21, of Bethesda, Maryland, was freed after posting a $5,000 bond.
None of the three, who are all neuroscience majors, entered pleas. The fourth defendant, Andrew Olson, of Atascadero, California, posted bail Tuesday and is due in court March 3. All four have been suspended from Wesleyan.
"These are very, very bright students, who have bright futures ahead of them and we certainly don't want to make any judgments at this time," said attorney Jennifer Zito, who said her client, Kramer, has a grade-point average above 4.0.
Lonergan's room was "essentially a drug store," prosecutor Gene Calistro Jr. said. Police said they have so far identified at least 16 different drugs found there. Al Nakib and Lonergan would typically sell Molly from their residences between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to arrest affidavits released Wednesday. Police said Lonergran distributed pamphlets on campus advising students how to properly "trip."
According to witnesses and text messages obtained by police, at least some of the Molly was purchased in Washington, D.C., by Kramer, who had lost his usual supplier and had gone back to an old source.
Witnesses said several of the victims were hanging out with Kramer during the rave Saturday night at the Eclectic Society, a co-ed social fraternity. Al Nakib told police that one of her friends bought the Molly from Kramer and "came home puking and hallucinating."
Two victims remained hospitalized Wednesday. One was found unresponsive with no vital signs and was revived by paramedics who used six defibrillator shocks and numerous chest compressions, according to the affidavits.
Lawyers for Lonergan, Kramer and Al Nakib said Wednesday that no Molly was found in their clients' rooms on campus. But authorities said lots of other drugs were, and they were still doing tests on numerous pills and powders.
Molly is a term used to describe a refined form of Ecstasy, a synthetic drug also known as MDMA, which can drive up body temperature and cause liver, kidney or cardiovascular failure. But experts say it often is cut with other drugs that can make the health risks unpredictable.
Prosecutors said Al Nakib has acknowleged dealing Xanax, a large quantity of which was found in her room. According to the affidavits, Lonergan told police he had been heavily involved in drugs as a freshman and became well known for advising people on how to use drugs.
Police said they have a text purported to be from him, in which he blames the weekend overdoes on the inhaling of the Molly and apologizes for not explaining how to properly ingest it.
It states the drug was "synthesized by a prestigious chemist upon a specific request, tested and personally ingested prior to distribution."
Authorities from various agencies are working to identify the chemicals in the batch of Molly that caused the illnesses, Middletown Police Chief William McKenna said.
Lonergan is accused of possessing a controlled substance and illegally obtaining or supplying drugs, while Olson faces charges of possessing and selling a hallucinogen. Kramer is accused of possessing drug paraphernalia, a regulated substance and a small amount of marijuana. Al Nakib is accused of possessing a controlled substance, a controlled substance with intent to sell it and drug paraphernalia.