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Columbia Drug Bust Suspects Say They Sold Drugs To Pay For School (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 12/08/10 09:09 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET


The five Columbia students arrested in yesterday's campus drug bust pleaded not guilty to charges in court.

Harrison David, Chris Coles, Jose Perez (alias Stephan Vincenzo) and Adam Klein, all 20, along with Michael Wymbs, 22, have been charged with selling LSD, pot, cocaine, Adderall and MDMA, according to police.

Their arrests were the culmination of a five-month undercover sting, during which police purchased $11,000 worth of drugs from the students out of Columbia fraternity houses and dorms.

Amid the ongoing investigation, more details about the charged students have emerged. According to the Columbia Daily Spectator, Chris Coles told police that he sold drugs to "pay tuition." Harrison David had earlier told a detective that he participated in the illegal trade because his father would not pay for school.

Jose Perez is a prestigious Gates Millenium Scholar and, according to Bloomberg, has "limited financial ability." Bloomberg also reports that Michael Wymbs had a previously clean record and a 3.5 GPA. He worked one summer as a cancer research biostatician and is in the midst of applying to graduate school.

Different bail amounts were set for each student, the highest being for Harrison David at $75,000. According to the Spectator, only Michael Wymbs was prepared to post his bail, set at $25,000; the other students were scheduled to be taken to Rikers Island last night.

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly told the Wall Street Journal that this bust was "the biggest [at a college] in recent memory." The sting, titled "Operation Ivy League," began after a tip from a confidential source.

Columbia Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger sent an e-mail to students last night assuring them that the school was taking the matter "very seriously."

The suspects face possible expulsion from the school.

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A New York City police officer escorts Columbia University student Harrison David, center, from the 25th Precinct in Manhattan after he and four other students were arrested on Tuesday Dec. 7, 2010, in New York. Authorities say the five Columbia University students sold LSD-spiked candy and a full menu of other drugs at three fraternity houses and other residences on the Ivy League campus, where it was believed at least one of the suspects was using the drug money for school expenses.(AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
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Filed by Leah Finnegan  |