The Oberlin Review
<< Front page News November 4, 2005

Feds raid for drugs in a student’s room
Feds storm room on charges of meth
Drug Search: This student’s room was turned upside down as officials searched for alleged drugs.

In an unprecedented show of force by law enforcement of Oberlin’s campus, at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19, approximately 30 members of the Lorain County Drug Task Force, assisted by DEA agents and Safety and Security officers, entered North and searched two rooms in response to a tip that two students were operating a methamphetamine lab.

One of the students involved described what the agents were wearing as “full body armor.”

“It was basically a military raid,” the student said. He emphasized the frightening nature of the raid, calling it “terrifying” and “disconcerting.”

“It violated privacy and made kids feel unsafe and confused during exam week,” he said. The student was returning from a chemistry lab when federal agents accosted him.

The other student involved was leaving his room to take a break from writing a paper and stepped into what he described as “a hall full of a combination of police, safety and security officers and some sort of DEA squad.” Agents detained both students separately in the hallway while they ransacked their rooms, leaving a mess that took “days” to clean up. They also allegedly tossed out threats of federal prison and told both students that the other had already disclosed information in an attempt to get them to incriminate each other.

Despite all these accusations, one student involved said, “There was no meth lab. We had no methamphetamine.”

One student had a bag taken from him that, according to his Oberlin Police Department property receipt, contained a “green leafy substance, suspected [to be] marijuana.”

The warrant served to the student described a laundry list of materials linked with the manufacture and dealing of methamphetamine, but none of these materials were found in the room.

“Most of it is still under investigation,” said Cliff Barnes, public information officer for the Oberlin Police Department.

As of now, neither of the students have been charged with anything pending results from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information. The “unidentified contraband” taken from the rooms, said Barnes, included “items consistent with the production of methamphetamine.”

The administration has so far adopted a similar policy, refraining from telling the students anything definite about what, if any, disciplinary action will follow.

Colin Jones, a student senator and College Sophomore, has been trying to work with the administration for better disclosure.

“They haven’t released anything, which I think is a problem,” he said.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen next. I’m pretty distraught about it,” said one of the students involved.

“By now, everyone’s ambiguous,” said the other student. “No one will make definite statements.”

Jones’s main concern is the unease that the incident has caused.

“Honestly, the raid should have never taken place,” said Jones. “People are worried that if one person says something, their room could be raided by the feds.”

Jones also stressed the unlikeliness that a drug lab could be run in a dorm room. “There are unmistakable signs [found in] a meth lab,” he said, “You can’t live in a meth lab.”

It is still unclear what precipitated the raid. One student’s opinion is that another student decided to call the police “even after discussing it with friends” who, it seems, tried to change his mind.

Barnes was only able to say, “apparently someone contacted college security and they contacted us.” Director of Safety and Security Bob Jones was unable to comment on the incident, since it is under the jurisdiction of the Oberlin Police Department


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