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Columbia University Drug Suspects Denied Request for Diversion

Two Columbia University students arrested last year on drug charges lost their bid to enroll in a pretrial diversion program that would let them avoid the possibility of a prison term of as long as 2 1/2 years.

Judge Michael Sonberg turned down the request for the program by Jose Stephan Perez, 20, of Atlanta and Michael Wymbs, 22, of New York, in New York state court in Manhattan today. Sonberg ordered another of the five defendants in the case, Christopher Coles, 21, of Philadelphia, to be evaluated for the program. Coles said he is addicted to marijuana.