Columbia Student David Gets Six Months for Drug Charges

Harrison David, one of five Columbia University students arrested on drug charges in December, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation.

David, 21, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty on July 19 to selling cocaine to an undercover officer. He was sentenced today by Judge Michael Sonberg in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan, said Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan’s office.

Four other students have rejected deals to plead guilty to drug-related charges in exchange for a recommended sentence of five years’ probation. They are Christopher Coles, 21, of Philadelphia; Adam Klein, 21, of Closter, New Jersey; Jose Stephan Perez, 20, of Atlanta; and Michael Wymbs, 22, of New York. They are scheduled to return to court in October.

The five students were arrested in December after a five-month investigation named “Operation Ivy League.” The arrests followed raids on fraternity houses and residences on the university’s Manhattan campus.

Prosecutors said undercover officers spent $11,000 buying drugs including cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy and LSD-laced Altoids mints and Sweetarts candy, with most of the sales taking place in common areas and bedrooms of three fraternities.

Time Served

David was taken to the Eric M. Taylor Center on Rikers Island after today’s court appearance, according to the website of the New York City Department of Correction. He is expected to serve about 3 1/2 months after credit for time served and good behavior, the New York Post quoted his attorney, Matthew Myers, as saying.

Myers didn’t return messages seeking comment on the sentencing. Myers said last month that David, a sophomore engineering student, had been suspended by the school and was likely to be expelled given his guilty plea. Robert Hornsby, a spokesman for Columbia, declined to comment on today’s proceedings.

Alleged drug suppliers Miron Sarzynski, 24, and his girlfriend, Megan Asper, 22, were arrested in October in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. Another alleged cocaine supplier, Roberto Lagares, 31, was arrested in December in Brooklyn, New York. None of them attended Columbia.

Attempted Kidnapping

Sarzynski pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and first-degree attempted kidnapping and was sentenced to six years in prison. Asper pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 45 days in prison. Lagares pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and was sentenced to six years in prison.

Columbia, founded in 1754, has about 25,000 students and is one of eight schools in the northeastern U.S. that make up the Ivy League. Graduates include President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The case is People v. David, 00038N/2011, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan.)

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