Eight out of 10 cases connected with a drug distribution investigation at William & Mary have been certified to move on to a higher court.
Six William & Mary students and one dining services employee appeared Thursday in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court for preliminary hearings.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge determines whether there is probable cause to move the case to Circuit Court, where felony cases are tried.
Six defendants waived their rights to preliminary hearings, meaning their cases automatically are moved on to Circuit Court without a judge hearing evidence.
The seventh defendant, Shannon Cannaday, entered an agreement for a withheld finding. Prosecutors dropped a charge of distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school and amended a felony distribution of marijuana charge to misdemeanor distribution.
Police say Cannaday was found with 0.489 ounces of marijuana, which is slightly less than the 0.5-ounce benchmark for a felony charge of distribution, Prosecutor Joshua DeFord said in court.
Cannaday, who was represented by state Sen. Thomas “Tommy” Norment, R-James City, asked for a withheld finding for one year. If she complies with various guidelines set by Judge Polly Chong and probation, the misdemeanor charge against her may be dismissed on Aug. 8, 2019.
Conditions of the withheld finding include good behavior, taking classes at Thomas Nelson Community College, completing 100 hours of community service and paying all court costs.
DeFord asked for Cannaday to be convicted on the misdemeanor charge.
Norment said Cannaday was unenrolled from William & Mary for the fall semester as a repercussion of her arrest, but she plans to apply for admission for the spring 2019 semester and will work in the Williamsburg area until then.
Norment said she received straight A’s last semester at William & Mary and is an “extraordinary student.”
A confidential informant purchased drugs at numerous locations on and near the William & Mary campus — including two residence halls — during the investigation, court documents reveal.
Unreported drug-related sexual assaults sparked the investigation into drug distribution at the college, according to court papers.
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.
Police said “various community contacts” informed police sexual assaults had occurred at local parties, but they did not file any official police reports.
A police spokesperson added that the drugs in question were not believed to be date-rape drugs.
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.
Here is a recap of Thursday’s court proceedings:
- Alexander Patrick Foley, 20, Bel Air, Maryland: One count of distribution of a Schedule II drug was certified to Circuit Court. One count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school was dropped by prosecutors.
- Timothy Tyrone Pryor, 27, Williamsburg: One count of felony distribution of marijuana was certified to Circuit Court.
- Bilol Mirganiev (Biloliddin Tulamirza), 19, Falls Church: One count of felony distribution of marijuana was dropped by prosecutors. One count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school was certified to Circuit Court.
- Shannon Cannaday, 21, Leesburg: One count of felony distribution of marijuana was amended by prosecutors to a misdemeanor charge of marijuana distribution, for which Cannaday entered a withheld finding. One count of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school was dropped by prosecutors.
- Nicolas George Manuel, 22, Arlington: One count of distribution of a Schedule I drug was amended by prosecutors to a charge of possession of a Schedule I or II drug, which was certified to Circuit Court. One count of selling drugs with 1,000 feet of a school was dropped by prosecutors.
- Daniel Jacob McBride, 20, Williamsburg: Prosecutors dropped all charges except one felony count of distribution of a Schedule II drug, which was certified to Circuit Court. Prosecutors dropped three 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: Prosecutors dropped all charges except two counts of distribution of a Schedule I of II drug. The remaining two charges were certified to Circuit Court. Moore was originally charged with 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.
- Gi Sang Yoon, 40, Williamsburg: Charged with two counts of felony distribution of marijuana and one count of possession of hashish; next court hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Nov. 29 in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court.
Previously certified to continue in Circuit Court:
- Keegan Paugh, 22, Rapid City, South Dakota: Charges certified to Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court during a hearing June 28., including one count of sale and/or distribution of marijuana and two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance.
- Jacob Selmonosky, 18, Falls Church: Charges certified to Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court during a hearing July 17, including two counts of distribution of Schedule II drug and two counts of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.