Campuswide drug crackdown nets 25 arrests
May 1, 2009
Following 25 arrests made by University police, 21 of which were University students, the Rho chapter of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) at the University has temporarily suspended its operations, according to a press release from the fraternity’s national office.
Four of the students arrested were members of the ZBT fraternity, according to University police reports.
This information comes during a drug investigation that spanned the past two semesters. Arrests began on Tuesday and police had no comment as to whether the arrests will continue.
“The fraternity has taken this action in order to cooperate fully with the University of Illinois authorities,” said ZBT executive director David Saks.
Raids also occurred at the Beta Theta Pi and Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity houses, as well as various apartments across campus. Out of the 25 people arrested, 17 had outstanding warrants against them, and eight arrests were due to probable cause.
Police seized 180 grams of cannabis, along with drug paraphernalia, two vehicles, three flat screen TVs and two laptop computers, said Lt. Roy Acree of the University police department.
Acree said a number of the arrest warrants were issued due to the sale of narcotics.
Acree would not comment on rumors as to whether undercover officers dressed as delivery men were used in the investigation, but added that undercover officers were utilized.
Additionally, a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority was arrested on a drug-related warrant.
“It wasn’t necessarily that we were going after that house, we were going after a person that had a warrant for their arrest,” Acree said. “The vast majority of the students who live in these fraternities or sorority had nothing to do with this drug investigation.”
As of press time, the sorority had not yet commented on the arrest.
According to Acree, these arrests were made as part of a larger initiative.
“You’re always trying to build from the lower guy. The perfect scenario would be to take us all the way to wherever these drugs are coming from,” he said.
Robin Kaler, spokesperson for the University, said the University police department is trying to send a message.
“We are an institution that’s saying that (drug use) is not tolerated here,” she said. “The University was aware of the plan to make arrests.”
The University will be filing individual investigations into all matters, said Robert Wilczynski, University assistant dean of housing.
“Once we have access to the police reports, we will be conducting a disciplinary investigation of students who are alleged to either possess marijuana or have specifically dealt or distributed,” he added.
He said if convicted, students found guilty of distributing illegal substances face at least a two year dismissal from the University.
Lt. Acree said the University police investigation was aided by Champaign County and City of Urbana police, due to “manpower issues.” He said these agencies helped to serve search and arrest warrants.
Acree said he was not aware of any alcohol violations with the involved fraternities and sorority. He also said an arraignment court was held at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. One suspect’s bond amounted to $250,000. Acree said for a suspect to be released, they must provide 10 percent of their bond.
Rachel Small and Kate Szyszka contributed to this report.