Two cases that resulted in separate arrests of Harbin Hall residents on drug-related charges on Saturday and Tuesday were linked by foreknowledge and personal ties, sources familiar with the suspects said this week.
Charles Smith (SFS ’14) and John Romano (COL ’14), along with visiting University of Richmond freshman John Perrone, were arrested early Saturday morning after officials found a suspected drug lab intended to produce dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in Smith and Romano’s Harbin 926 dorm room.
Second-floor Harbin resident Kelly Baltazar was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, according to Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Hugh Carew.
Baltazar was aware of Smith and Perrone’s plans to manufacture DMT before the lab was discovered by police, according to a friend of the three Georgetown students and a blog published by Baltazar’s roommate.
Sources said Baltazar was upset after the arrests of Smith, Perrone and Romano on Saturday morning by the decision to make DMT and to do so in a dorm room.
According to her roommate’s blog, Baltazar told her roommate about the buildup to Smith, Romano and Perrone’s arrest when she returned to her room Saturday evening. Her roommate summarized Baltazar’s account, writing, “C had his friend over for the weekend who brought all of the supplies and was like, `Hey guys let’s make some DMT.’ C agrees and his roommate J goes along with it.”
Although Romano was allegedly aware of the plans, a friend of the students said Romano was not involved in the possible manufacturing of the DMT. According to the blog, Baltazar said she did not think Romano should get into trouble, as it was not his idea to make the DMT.
Romano was released and cleared of all charges at a Monday hearing in U.S. District Court after Smith told officers that Romano was not involved in any illegal activity, according to The Washington Post. Romano and his parents were seen moving his belongings out of Harbin Hall on Thursday.
Smith and Perrone are facing federal charges for conspiracy to manufacture and possession with intent to distribute DMT. Both were released by the U.S. District Court on Wednesday to the custody of their parents, who live in Andover, Mass., until their next D.C. court date on Jan. 24.
The court mandated that Smith and Perrone wear ankle-bracelet monitoring devices to ensure that they stay within a to-be-determined radius in the Massachusetts and New Hampshire area. The suspects must obey a curfew and attend drug- and substance-abuse testing while seeking and maintaining full-time employment or enrollment at a university near their homes.
Smith and Perrone could be sentenced to 20 years in prison and charged $1 million in fines, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s federal trafficking penalties for allegedly manufacturing with the intent to distribute the Schedule 1 drug DMT.
Baltazar was released after pleading not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday. According to the D.C. Superior Court’s docket, she will now undergo drug testing and treatment, and her next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 19. Baltazar briefly returned to campus on Wednesday to retrieve a few items, but the majority of her possessions still remain in her dorm room.
All three students face potential penalties for Category C violations of the Student Code of Conduct because of their alleged intent to distribute and Smith and Perrone’s alleged intent to manufacture. Such violations can result in suspension or expulsion. The university has declined to comment on the status of the students’ enrollment, citing matters of confidentiality.
Baltazar had previously been referred to the Office of Student Conduct after a DPS officer discovered her smoking marijuana on Sept. 10 on Kehoe Field. The DPS report of the incident stated that Baltazarwas carrying marijuana and a grinder at the time.
According to her roommate’s blog, Baltazar had a history of drug-related incidents. Her roommate wrote on her blog that Baltazar made a drug deal in front of her in August. The blog also says that Baltazarsaid she was suspended in high school due to a drug-related incident. At press time, the blog had been removed from public access.
The DPS investigation of Baltazar’s drug activity began last Friday after DPS received an anonymous tip. A DPS officer, who remains anonymous due to DPS policy, said it took DPS until Tuesday to hone in on the suspect, at which point they searched her room. Baltazar was then arrested by MPD.
According to the MPD Incident Report, MPD discovered a green, “weed-like” substance that tested positive for THC, the main psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. The DPS officer alleged that the search yielded a quantity substantial enough to warrant a suspicion that there was intent to sell.
On Oct. 27, university spokeswoman Julie Bataille said that the university believes the two cases to be unrelated.
“This investigation is separate from another that remains ongoing related to the arrests of two other students, Charles Smith and John Romano, on drug charges over the weekend,” Bataille said in an email. “We are working actively with MPD to understand if there are any connections but at this time believe they are unrelated incidents.”
“We are certainly trying to get as full of an understanding of this situation as we can,” Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson said in an interview with THE HOYA on Monday.
– Hoya Staff Writer Laura Engshuber contributed to this report.