West Alabama Narcotics Task Force carries out raids on, off-campus

Sixty-one students were arrested Tuesday morning as part of what Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson called a “record” operation to carry out 74 total arrests on and near the University of Alabama campus.

A coalition of law enforcement, including officers from the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the University of Alabama Police Department, the U.S. Marshals, the Northport Police Department and the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office began raids at 4 a.m. and continued through the day.

“From people who have been associated with this task force for over thirty years, in talking to them, they tell me that, yes, this is a record,” Anderson said in a press conference held at the Tuscaloosa Police Department at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The West Alabama Narcotics Task Force carried out the investigation over two months and used confidential informants, according to Anderson. The University cooperated with the investigation as necessary.

“We used individuals known as confidential informants to go in and make purchases for us,” Anderson said. “There was not necessarily a hub, but there was some activity going on on the campus.”

Anderson said the 74 people were arrested on 183 charges, mostly centered on the sale and possession of marijuana. A small number of arrests were made for cocaine, ecstasy and LSD, Anderson said. Three weapons were also seized.

Raids occurred in several buildings on- and off-campus, according to a University spokeswoman.

One student, Jake Wilt, was waiting for a friend in the lobby of Ridgecrest South at 5:30 a.m. and said he saw sheriff’s deputies escorting several students out of the dorm in handcuffs.

“There were about 7-10 officers, all wearing bullet proof vests with hand guns strapped to their thigh,” he said. “Two were just wearing street clothes with badges around their necks, and they were escorting about six students, all in handcuffs.”

The deputies, Wilt said, were also carrying bags filled with what he believed was evidence.

“I saw about five paper bags about the size of two standard lunch bags, all filled with stuff,” Wilt said. “Three officers ran to the court yard behind the residence hall saying they saw one of the students throwing items out the window and came back in with two more bags filled. All I could really smell was the intense odor of weed.”

UA President Judy Bonner sent a campus-wide email through the UANews listserv explaining the raids at 3:51 p.m.

“UA has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to the sale or distribution of drugs, on or off campus, and we will continue to vigorously enforce that policy,” Bonner said in the email. “These students represent a small group of UA students. UA will review our current policies and practices to ensure that we are doing all we can to educate students to make the best decisions they can and that we are providing an environment that is conducive to learning.”

Bonner also condemned drug use in the University community.

“The University is extremely disappointed when students make choices about substance abuse that can have such a significant and negative impact on their lives and others, including their families, their friends, other students and this University,” she said.

At TPD’s press conference, Anderson said law enforcement in the area wanted to send a clear message to anyone dealing drugs.

“If we discover who they are, we are going to come after them,” he said. “Although a lot people consider it to be a harmless drug, it is still illegal to possess it, sell it, distribute it in the state of Alabama. Therefore, it is against the law. We are still going to enforce the law, no matter how harmless people think it is.”

The West Alabama Narcotic Task Force

The West Alabama Narcotics Task Force is a unit of more than a dozen officers from the Tuscaloosa Police Department, the County Sheriff’s Office, the Northport Police Department and one representative from the University of Alabama Police Department. They are responsible for all narcotics investigations in Tuscaloosa County.

TPD Police Chief Steven Anderson said Tuesday that informants were used to identify targets of the raid. The practice is common for the task force. In an interview last March, Captain Jeff Snyder, commander of the task force until November of last year, called informants the lifeblood of the task force, and said without them the unit could not function.

The task force headed up the two-months-long investigation that resulted in Tuesday’s raids on and off campus. In 2011, task force investigators took 2,318 cases that produced 1,596 defendants, an increase from 2010, when they handled 2,075 cases that produced 1,536 defendants.

The task force was the subject of an FBI investigation in December because of discrepancies in their accounting processes. An audit was made of their accounting in November following Snyder’s retirement and the assignment of a new commander to lead the unit. The FBI did not return calls for comment about the status of the investigation or any results that came from it before press time.

The following lists contain the names and charges for those involved in the drug raids carried out on Tuesday. The list was provided by TPD at the 3 p.m. press conference.

Charges for those arrested in Feb. 19 drug raids in Tuscaloosa, Ala. by Will Tucker

Page two is below:

Arrests Scan 1 by Will Tucker

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerald-D-Tinnon/1112297215 Gerald D. Tinnon

    Hey guys, you can always move to Boulder, Colorado or transfer to the University of Washington where pot smoking is not such a sinister crime. Bet you can even do the Harlem Shake without getting arrested…

    • ATXYUM

      it shouldn’t be anywhere. quit your ignorance, respect people’s hobbies, and grow up. have you even “tried weed?”

    • Sensible

      Your response is move? Alright yea let me pack up and leave my family and go to Colorado so i can smoke. Marijuana is our life it’s all we care about. “IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIIIIIIIIIN”

  • Freshman

    Police were in my room at 3:45, 15 officers fully armed. One guy had an assault rifle

    • http://www.VigilanteWebdevelopment.com/ Shaun Missey

      Sounds like Marshall Law to me!

      • Anonymous

        It’s martial law…please…

  • student

    Gerald, it’s illegal regardless of whether people think it is okay or not. I’m glad to live in a city where the officers take their jobs seriously.

    • http://www.anglaispod.com/ bucketachicken

      Actually, those states passed laws where it’s not illegal anymore…

    • observer

      Your glib faith in the police is annoying. And your whole idea that we should blindly adhere to the notion that “It’s illegal, end of discussion” goes against what a democracy is all about. Should busting some kid smoking weed in his room really that important of a priority? Yeah, weed is illegal, but so was black people attending the same schools as white people at one point. You can’t honestly think that spending thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars on arresting and prosecuting college kids is the best way for the state of Alabama to utilize its resources.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jlcollins2 Jennifer L Collins

      They should be using resources paid for by my tax money to actually get corrupt officers off the forces here and actually convict underage drinking, open containers, etc.

    • Jpot

      “It’s illegal regardless of whether people think it’s okay or not.”

      That’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? If the majority of people think it’s okay, it shouldn’t be illegal.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerald-D-Tinnon/1112297215 Gerald D. Tinnon

      Then why isn’t it illegal in Colorado and Washington? Why disturb a kid’s life and disrupt their education over something so damn insignificant. It’s the mentality like yours that allows this state to have such pitiful and silly laws. For pete’s sake, bingo is illegal in Alabama.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gerald-D-Tinnon/1112297215 Gerald D. Tinnon

      How many people drive 70 mph on the Interstate? Do you? It should be the people that determine the laws, not a handful of ultra conservative do-gooders that think they know what is best for everybody.

    • anonymous

      The cops in this town care not about protecting citizens, but taking your money. They could care less about you.

  • student

    doing there jobs yeah right maybe they should be getting more theft, assault and drinking&driving offenders

    • anonymous

      and the rape that takes place on campus… any of those done in frat houses, victims get paid off to keep quiet to protect UA’s self-righteous image. How is that justice?

      • anonymoose

        Contrary to whatever you may believe, fraternity members are not a bunch of depraved rapists. They are just like the rest of campus aside from the fact that they choose to join some silly club. Your comment comes across as an ignorant, unfounded, and capricious blanket condemnation of a culture you choose to blindly bash. Keep your opinions to yourself or get some better ones.

        *The ellipsis is not necessary.
        **”any of those done in frat houses,” should be punctuated with a question mark instead of being finished with a run-on.
        ***”victims” should be upper-case as it should be the start of a new sentence.

        tl:dr: off yourself op

        • burberberger

          Contrary to whatever you may believe, 75-90% of campus rape is committed by fraternity members.

          • anonymoose

            Nailed it. Its pretty easy to see how about 30% of male undergraduates on this campus can commit 75-90% of UA campus rapes (the massive 15% discrepancy due to extremely fratty independent rapists). These patagonia clad Rocky Dennis look-alikes scour the campus like a pack of wolves who care not for food or shelter. No! Only rape! But this horror is not limited to college campuses. They follow a group of demigods known only by the mysterious moniker “Widespread Panic” around the country raping anything with a hole. This small coalition of super efficient rapists is seldom caught but often suspected by internet posters who have performed minutes upon minutes of research. These vaginal terrorists must be stopped!
            Seriously though, I don’t suppose you have something like a crime report or a scholarly article to attribute this to frat kids?

          • burberberger

            Bausell and Maloy, “The links among drugs, alcohol, and campus crime: A

            research report,” Paper presented at the Fourth National Conference
            on Campus Violence, Campus Violence Prevention Center, Towson, MD.
            Part of the paper deals with fraternity violence.

            Boeringer, Scot B., Constance L. Shehan, and Ronald L. Akers, “Social
            Contexts and Social Learning in Sexual Coercion and Aggression:
            Assessing the Contribution of Fraternity Membership,” Family
            Relations, Jan 1991, 58-64. Main results: “fraternity members
            did not significantly differ from independents in terms of their
            self-perceived likelihood of sexually coercive behavior (using
            force or committing rape). However, their mean scores on the
            dependent variables that indicate actual use of nonphysical force
            and drugs or alcohol to obtain sex were significantly higher than
            nonmembers’ mean scores. Finally… fraternity members did not
            differ significantly in their reports of having raped a woman.”

            Copenhaver, Stacey, and Elizabeth Grauerholz, “Sexual Victimization
            Among Sorority Women: Exploring the Link Between Sexual Violence and
            Institutional Practices,” Sex Roles, Vol. 24, Nos. 1/2, 1991, 31.
            Abstract: “This study investigates the incidence and nature of sexual
            coercion among sorority women. Particular emphasis is placed on
            sexual coercion that occurs within the context of fraternal life.
            Overall, almost half of those studied had experienced some form of
            sexual coercion, 24% experienced attempted rape, and 17% were
            victims of completed rape. Almost half of the rapes occurred in
            a fraternity house, and over half occurred either during a fraternity
            function or was perpetrated by a fraternity member. This study
            provides evidence that fraternities represent a social context that
            tolerates, if not actually encourages, sexual coercion of women,
            including sorority women.”

          • burberberger

            That’s for a start

          • anonymoose

            You started with the claim that ” 75-90% of campus rape is committed by fraternity members.” This is a far cry from the 24% of attempted, and 17% completed (still a deplorable number) that your 2nd study suggests. Second, neither of those statistics are applied exclusively to “sexual coercion” performed by fraternity members. The excerpt you got from the first google search result merely states that it was a study on sexual coercion among sorority women with emphasis on fraternity members, then proceeds to put forth two statistics on sexual coercion without regard as to whether the act was performed by a fraternity member or a non fraternity member (the excerpt clearly suggests that the study does take into account non fraternity members performing sexually coercive acts on sorority women). Third, both of these studies are 22 years old. Suggesting that Greek life today is the same as it was 22 years ago is asinine. Universities monitoring fraternities is a recent thing. They used to be unsupervised. Long story short, you went out of your way to make a sensationalist statement about something you know nothing about, in response to a story that has nothing to do with this and produced two articles that don’t substantiate your original claim, but in fact mitigate it. Quit while you’re behind.

          • burberberger

            Wrong again. Your reading comprehension is exceptionally poor. 24 percent of women in sororities were raped, considerably more than half of the rapists
            were fraternity members.

          • anonymoose

            Your math is exceptionally poor. More than half of the 24% that were victims were raped by fraternity members. The numbers don’t add up to your original claim that”75-90% of campus rape is committed by fraternity members.”

          • Alexander Hough

            Heck, back in my day we use to throw rape parties. Just a big ole massive orgy going down to satisfy that 75 to 90% statistic.

          • anonymoose

            Not to mention that the second study cuts the original numbers in the very next sentence while implicating non fraternity members for the very same coercion.

          • burberberger

            In the second study fraternity members reported the same number of rapes as non-members, the study found their reports to be false.

          • Unheard

            How about “Sexual Assault on the College Campus: Fraternity Affiliation, Male Support, and Low Self-Control” from Nov 2012? It cites multiple studies where fraternities function as an “elite all-male institute that has a history of sexual assault perpetration on college campuses.” Nevermind the “role of fraternities in perpetuating rape and sexual assault on college campuses” (1460). Table one in that article shows that 61.3% of reported sexual violence comes from fraternity members. That is not at all recent research or at all specific to the rape culture of the fraternities. Clearly, it must be a myth.

  • Freshie

    How about doing something that actually matters, like arresting those dealing/buying Adderall, Ritalin, etc. They are dangerous for those who aren’t prescribed them. I know way too many people who smoke and deal weed (too many to imprison) and it does nothing but waste time and money. Just my opinion.

    • ATXYUM

      adderall helps you study but does have the possibility of becoming abusive. prescribed or not, they hand those scripts out like candy. do your research

      • Freshie

        Actually, I have done my research. I am legally prescribed Adderall XR and have been diagnosed with ADHD for 10 years. What is your point? Do you even have one? Because I certainly don’t see one… I just see you being redundant.

  • JoeP

    CW: Please follow up on the following if capable.
    1.) Given the socio-economic breakdown of campus housing (ie: Patty vs. Ridge Crest vs. DKE house, etc) knowing the dorms in which arrests were made would be informative. Suspicion suggests none were made in the later category of my example.

    2.) RE: “In 2011, task force investigators took 2,318 cases that produced 1,596
    defendants, and increase from 2010, when they handled 2,075 cases that
    produced 1,536 defendants.” This data creates more questions than it answers. Please tell us what % of those additional 30 defendants were found guilty. Also, based on these numbers it appears that nearly 300 more people were investigated fruitlessly (only 30 were charged) lowering the task force’s effectiveness in bringing suit 5% (#defendants/#cases). Will 2012 show that an additional 10% of individuals will be investigated with another 5% decline in effectiveness?

    As a student, I want to know more about who in my classes is being targeted for investigation. As a tax payer, I want to know why this task force appears to be spending more resources and investigating more cases with a weaker results ratio.

    • Anonymous

      1.) You’re wrong about the first part. 2) Rent to live in Paty is roughly the same as rent at the average UA fraternity house, anyway. 3) The fact that you want information yielded by a “socio-economic breakdown of campus housing” shows that you are inherently biased against people of means better than yours.

  • Guest

    Here we go, I’m going to step on some toes here, but why do they not go into these Greek parties and enfore the underage drinking issue? It is against the law too, and every bit as serious. But you don’t see them doing that, now do you.

  • Guest

    Delete
    Flag as inappropriate
    Here we go, I’m going to step on some toes here, but why do they not go into these Greek parties and enforce the underage drinking issue? It is against the law too, and every bit as serious. But you don’t see them doing that, now do you.

  • BigFoot34

    Here we go, I’m going to step on some toes here, but why do they not go into these Greek parties and enforce the underage drinking issue? It is against the law too, and every bit as serious. But you don’t see them doing that, now do you.

    • FABU

      Yea, because drugs are a whole other thing? like what?

      • anonymous

        Drugs, maybe. As in, Adderall/Vyvanse abuse, heroine, cocaine, meth… Weed is a plant, and no more really a drug than coffee.

    • anonymous

      glad you bring up the Greek thing. I wonder if they even INVESTIGATE the Greek houses…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Maginnis/27408945 Donald Maginnis

        Some of the guys they busted are fraternity guys. Just run some of those names through facebook

        • Sensible

          This has absolutely nothing to do with being in a fraternity. There was no ethnic/class warfare involved. I would say about half were in fraternities and were equally as screwed for the rest of their lives and college careers. Stick to the facts.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe because Greek houses are private residences and not university dorms where idiots smoke pot and sell it out of their rooms thinking they somehow won’t get caught

      • http://www.facebook.com/brad.erthal Brad Erthal

        Most of them are on University land. I don’t really think that we should use a lot of resources policing those either, but the distinction you are making is small if it exists.

        • Anonymous

          All but one Greek house is on University land. However, all of the buildings are private property owned and operated by house corporations, and the same rules and (more importantly) rights apply to the people who live and use those houses as someone renting any other property, unlike kids living in University dorms who waive their rights against search of property, unwanted entry, and whatnot.

          • burberberger

            So if you have the money to be Greek, you can live at the university without the hassle of laws applying to you

          • Anonymous

            I know, it’s freaking awesome, right?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donald-Maginnis/27408945 Donald Maginnis

        The houses are owned by the University and rented to the fraternities

        • Anonymous

          Tell that to some of these housing corp’s that have alumni with their names on the bottom of a multi-million dollar mortgage.

  • guest

    Making money off the harmless actions of college students. Endless stories of burglary, rape, and meth/heroin fatalities all around the city of Tuscaloosa….and the police decided to target the students. Why? Because its EASY MONEY. This is nothing but a continuous money scheme and it needs to stop.

    • Sally Cam

      agreed

  • Earl Flowers

    I feel SO much safer now that all of those pot-smoking hooligans are off of the streets and all of that devil’s lettuce is locked up in evidence. I hate seeing all of those starry-eyed rapscallions in Publix buying chips and cookie dough–they make me fear for my safety and that of my family. Once you start being tolerant of marijuana, you start allowing hippies to overrun your society, and then Obama becomes President.

    • Brooks

      that was wonderful

  • Intelligencia

    This is absolutely ridiculous. They just ruined the academic careers of 26+ students for MONEY. Now those students will be ineligible for financial aid. I am outraged that they would spend my taxes on something as benign as marijuana. I am equally outraged that President Judy Bonner incorrectly labels marijuana as a narcotic. Shame on the police, shame on the University. This isn’t over.

  • Judy Boner

    cops are fags

  • http://www.facebook.com/Corbin.P.Martin Corbin Martin

    Here’s a crazy idea: instead of organizing a Harlem Shake video (where no one actually does the Harlem Shake) some of you get together and protest this outrage! Has the student body gotten so weak that no one has courage to stand up against these fundamentalists? Does the SDS (Student’s for a Democratic Society) even exist on campus anymore?

    • Freshie

      We’ve been talking about one since we heard the news.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Corbin.P.Martin Corbin Martin

    Here’s a crazy idea: instead of organizing a Harlem Shake video (where no one actually does the Harlem Shake) some of you get together and protest this outrage! Has the student body gotten so weak that no one has the courage to stand up against these fundamentalists? Does the SDS (Student’s for a Democratic Society) even exist on campus anymore?

    • http://twitter.com/mindchangeframe MAB

      SDS was kicked off campus at Alabama a while ago.

  • RammerJammin

    How do I get in touch in touch with Judy Bonner? Anyone know a personal e-mail?

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriel.dickson.5 Gabriel Dickson

    So many things wrong with this “raid”: the police should have higher priorities, this whole using informants tactic is just ridiculous, wearing bullet proof vests? That seems a tad extreme in this situation but they have to get our moneys worth I guess. Put these drug units in areas where harmful drugs are being abused such as heroin. Cannabis is illegal, but it’s no reason for this overzealous “task force” to storm in with assault rifles.

  • disqus_bneeYB7Vx8

    You just know Judy Bonner’s going to play “Celebrating Achievement” for the Tuscaloosa Police Department.

  • Chuck Fifty

    I bet Saban’s got that good herb.

  • disqus_jAzilQtvLr

    The C-W really needs to dig into the racial makeup of the arrest list.

    • Ted

      Almost all white, oddly enough.

  • mary

    Ok so if we arrest pot smokers (because it is illegal) we have to arrest everyone illegal or doing some criminal offense well by that logic..anyone who is “homosexual” needs to be arrested too according to the state code: ..lets form a gestapo group! …dont forget the drunk underage greeks!

    classes must emphasize, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.[3]

    SeeAlabama State Code Section 16-40A-2, the Alabama Course of Study: Health Education, and theResolution to Provide Information to Students to Prevent the Spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Disease in the Public Schools of Alabama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/drainomatic Chris Bedwell

    I’m glad to see our tax dollars being put to good use. With government spending at record highs, I think keeping a bunch of young potheads off their couches, and in jail where they belong is a big priority. Marijuana smokers are generally among the least dangerous people in the world. Young people having sex, drinking, and smoking dope!?! At a college!?! Somebody call the police!

  • GB

    I’m curious. If I gave the Crimson White information regarding officers of the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force, would they publish it as well? I have several names, and all of their info is easily accesible over Facebook. Would people want to know this as well?

    I think it’s a little immature to publish the students’ names who were arrested, regardless if it was public information or not. That’s fairly low from a journalistic integrity standpoint.

    • Sensible

      Please, please post all of their names on a comment.

  • Jake

    haha “confidential informants” too bad people know who they are. sucks for those guys if you ask me

  • walo13

    On every website I read about this, its funny how the officers & school thought they would be praised for this. Instead they’re being bashed by the community, its great too see.

    • walo13

      Also if you’re using a iPhone and think smoking pot is bad, just remember Steve jobs smoked pot & did LSD in college.

  • Ann Burg

    The thing here is Alabama made it legal to distill alcohol in your front yard like how on the West coast you can grow a certain amounts of plants in your home…. It makes a lot of sense I guess. I have never heard of a pot head drunkenly killing someone in a car accident. Ive never heard of anyone with “marijuana poisoning”, alcohol, yes. Rape on weed? Nope, just alcohol. Drunk belligerent fighting, alcohol. DUI, alcohol. Liver failure, alcohol. Cancer patients use this for pain…., not alcohol. Bi-polar people use this to help with anxiety naturally… not alcohol. I guess its ok because they thought Jesus drank “wine”, but didnt he get mad at the people who made that gold shrine and got drunk and had sex by the burning bush? So its ok to ruin the lives of almost 100 kids? I guess God told them to do that….