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Columbia Student Adam Klein Pleads Guilty in Drug Case

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Adam Klein, one of five Columbia University students arrested in December 2010 and charged with selling drugs on the New York City school’s campus, pleaded guilty today.

Klein, 21, of Closter, New Jersey, made his plea before Justice Michael Sonberg of state Supreme Court in Manhattan to attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance in exchange for a recommended sentence of five years of probation. He will be sentenced Feb. 28.

Klein, a neuroscience and behavior major who competed on the school’s fencing team, is the fourth student to plead guilty in the case. Michael Wymbs, 23, of New York, and Jose Stephan Perez, 21, of Atlanta pleaded guilty to similar charges last year in exchange for five years’ probation.

Harrison David, 21, of Wrentham, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty in July to selling cocaine to an undercover officer in exchange for six months in jail and five years of probation. He began serving his prison term on Aug. 30.

A fifth student, Christopher Coles, 21, of Philadelphia, was accepted into a pretrial diversion program and will spend a year in a residential treatment facility. The charges against him will be dropped if he completes the treatment successfully.

Requests Rejected

Sonberg had rejected requests from Klein, Wymbs and Perez to enter the diversion program, which was set up in 2009 as part of a reform of the state’s so-called Rockefeller drug laws. The program allows judges to divert some nonviolent offenders to treatment programs instead of incarceration.

Prosecutors said undercover officers, in a five-month investigation nicknamed “Operation Ivy League,” spent $11,000 buying drugs including cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy and LSD-laced candy, with most sales taking place in common areas and bedrooms of three fraternities.

Three suppliers, none of whom attended Columbia, pleaded guilty in the case last year.

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at cdolmetsch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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