Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Details emerge about drug investigation tied to William & Mary students, professor

Ten people with ties to William & Mary were arrested in a drug distribution investigation, eight of whom were students. (Courtesy photo/Williamsburg Police)
Ten people with ties to William & Mary were arrested in a drug investigation, eight of whom were students. Those arrested are, top row, from left, Keegan Paugh, Daniel McBride, Bilol Mirganiev (Biloliddin Tulamirza), Shannon Cannaday and Nicolas Manuel; bottom row, from left, Timothy Pryor, Jacob Selmonosky, Devin Moore, Alexander Foley and Gi Sang Yoon. (Courtesy photo/Williamsburg Police)

A confidential informant purchased drugs at numerous locations on and near the William & Mary campus — including two residence halls — during an Williamsburg drug investigation, court documents reveal.

Ten people with ties to the school were arrested in the investigation, eight of whom were students. Also arrested were a 40-year-old visiting professor of immunology in the biology department, and 27-year-old dining services employee at the college.

Those arrested were:

  • Shannon Cannaday, 20, Leesburg: one count of felony distribution of marijuana and one count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Alexander Patrick Foley, 20, Bel Air, Maryland: one count of distribution of a Schedule II drug and one count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Nicolas George Manuel, 22, Arlington: one count of distribution of a Schedule I drug and one count of selling drugs with 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Daniel Jacob McBride, 20, Williamsburg: two counts of distribution of a schedule II drug and two counts of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Devin Moore, 20, Springfield: five counts of distribution of a Schedule I drug, two counts of distribution of a Schedule II drug and five counts of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Keegan Paugh, 22, Rapid City, SD: one count of marijuana distribution, one count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, four counts of possession of a Schedule II drug, one count of possession of a Schedule III drug and one count of marijuana possession.
  • Jacob Selmonosky, 18, Falls Church: two counts of distribution of Schedule II drug and two counts of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Bilol Mirganiev (Biloliddin Tulamirza), 18, Falls Church: one count of felony distribution of marijuana and 1 county of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.
  • Timothy Tyrone Pryor, 27, Williamsburg: one count of felony distribution of marijuana.
  • Gi Sang Yoon, 40, Williamsburg: two counts of felony distribution of marijuana and one count of possession of hashish.

Three of the students arrested — Cannaday, Foley and Mirganiev — were on the  dean’s list for the 2017 fall semester, according to the William & Mary website.

All of those arrested are free on bond except Mirganiev, who was released on his own recognizance, according to online court records.

Cannaday, Manuel, Miganiev, Selmonosky and Yoon are scheduled to appear in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court on April 24, while McBride, Moore, Paugh and Pryor are scheduled to appear May 31. Foley’s court date is June 7.

Here’s what WYDaily knows about the drug investigation so far:

What police say happened

According to criminal complaints filed in the Williamsburg-James City County General District Court, unreported drug-related sexual assaults sparked the investigation into drug distribution at the college.

Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said “various community contacts” informed police sexual assaults had occurred at local parties, but did not file any official police reports.

Riley added that the drugs in question were not believed to be date-rape drugs.

“We took the tips seriously,” Riley said. “We began looking into the information provided to us and found some criminal violations.”

Some criminal complaints from the 10 arrests date as far back as Dec. 7, although most cite alleged offenses in February, March and April 2018.

Criminal complaints reveal at least one informant bought drugs including cocaine, marijuana, LSD, steroids and amphetamines in rooms either in campus housing or near campus, including at Brown and Barrett halls.

Police used drug-sniffing dogs to detect drugs in some circumstances, and some controlled purchases were recorded by surveillance, documents state.

Drugs seized during the investigation included LSD, cocaine, psilocybin (mushrooms), opioids, amphetamines, steroids, hashish and marijuana.

About $14,000 in cash also was recovered from one suspect’s residence, according to police. Riley did not name whose residence the cash came from.

While Williamsburg Police and the Tri-Rivers Drug Task Force participated in the investigation, the William & Mary Police Department was not involved.

The task force includes the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office, James City County Police, Williamsburg Police, the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office, Poquoson Police and Virginia State Police.

Riley said William & Mary Police were not included in the investigation because the tips about sexual assaults began off-campus.

William & Mary spokeswoman Suzanne Seurattan called the arrests “both surprising and disappointing.”

“We know the university is not immune to crimes that affect all of society but as an institution and a member of this community, we take the issue of drugs – and all matters of crime prevention and safety — seriously,” Seurattan said.

A criminal history

Court documents also reveal that Pryor has a criminal history dating back to 2008, when he was 18.

In 2008, he was charged with entering a building with the intent to commit a felony. He pleaded guilty to the charge in 2009.

Documents filed in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court show Pryor was charged in 2015 with extortion and making threats over a public airway.

Court documents also show Pryor was working for Arby’s and Sodexo — a food company contracted with William & Mary’s dining halls — when he was arrested for the offenses.

Seurattan confirmed Thursday that Pryor works with dining services.

In January 2016, Pryor agreed to plead guilty to the two charges. In return, the commonwealth’s attorney agreed not to reinstate related charges that were dropped in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court a few months earlier.

Circuit Court records show the plea agreement asked for a withheld finding. The case is scheduled for sentencing May 18.

McBride was arrested in February and charged with public intoxication as well as purchasing and possessing alcohol by someone under 21, according to court records. In March, a judge deferred the disposition of McBride’s case until Sept. 10.

Discipline

When asked about student discipline in connection with the drug arrests, Seurattan said university practice is to generally not comment on similar matters.

“What I can tell you generally is that any criminal matter involving a student could initiate our internal student disciplinary process,” Seurattan added. “I won’t speak about specific cases, but there could be instances where the internal reviews and/or investigations required necessitate administrative measures ranging from limiting access to campus to immediate interim suspensions.  Sanctions for any student found in violation of the student conduct policy could range from warning to suspension or dismissal depending on the severity of the incident and past experience with the individual.”

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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