CRIME
02/20/2013 11:49 am ET

University Of Alabama Drug Bust Nets 61 Students In Tuscaloosa

Authorities in Tuscaloosa, Ala., arrested 74 people on Tuesday in a sweeping drug bust, WIAT reports. A majority of those who were arrested are students at the University of Alabama.

Those arrested Tuesday face a total of 183 charges, many of them related to the sale and possession of marijuana, which Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson defended in a press conference.

"I know a lot of people consider [marijuana] to be a harmless drug," Anderson said. "It's still illegal to possess it, distribute and traffic it in the state of Alabama. Therefore, it's against the law and we're going to enforce the law no matter how harmless people think it is."

About two dozen students were picked up on campus and in residence halls, the Associated Press reports, and many others lived adjacent to campus.

According to WTVY, the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force has arrested 99 people in all over the course of the two-month investigation. Police also confiscated cocaine, ecstacy, LSD, mushrooms, prescription narcotics and weapons, al.com reports.

UA spokeswoman Cathy Andreen told the Tuscaloosa News that after judicial reviews are completed, "students will receive sanctions up to and including expulsion."

"UA has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the sale or distribution of drugs, on or off campus, and we will continue to vigorously enforce that policy," UA president Judy Bonner said in a campus-wide email. "These students represent a small group of UA students. UA will review our current policies and practices to ensure that we are doing all we can to educate students to make the best decisions they can and that we are providing an environment that is conducive to learning."

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