Resident faces felony charges in marijuana bust

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St. Joseph Police officer Herrera was working an off-duty job at East Hills Mall on Jan. 29, 2009 when he arrested Western student Steven C. Jones for stealing from a shop in the mall. Upon searching Jones at the time of arrest, the officer discovered two baggies containing green plant material known to be marijuana, empty baggies and over $200 cash.

All of the evidence was seized and the arresting officer alerted the K-9 unit to Jones’ campus address where the drug-sniffing dog indicated at Jones’ door that there was in fact drugs’ in the dorm room.

Officers then obtained a search warrant based on the dog’s reaction and found in Jones’ room one bag of marijuana and a second bag containing 14 individually packaged baggies that contained marijuana. Jones was later charged with a felony possession with intent to distribute marijuana on a college property. Jones’ arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 6.

Information contained in the statement of probable cause signed by Steve McClintick, an officer with the SJPD, indicates that Jones will be expelled from Western. Michael Speros, Assistant Dean of Residential Life, and Duane Bruce, Associate Dean of Student Development, both declined to comment on the status of Jones’enrollment citing regulations from the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

According to the student handbook, “It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Student Development…to implement through an informal disposition the judicial sanction of immediate temporary dismissal from the university.” That means that Bruce should have dismissed Jones, temporarily, immediately upon learning of the crimes Jones’ was arrested for.

Reports of Jones’ alleged crimes come only a week after Kenisha Jenkins, another Western student, was charged with felony stealing, when she alleged that she had been robbed of three bank bags belonging to her employer, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Police found no evidence of the robbery in surveillance footage of the area. Jenkins was charged with stealing after the money was recovered in her home.

Drug crimes in residence halls have decreased overall since 2005 when five people were arrested, six arrests in 2006, and one in 2007. Although drug crimes on the entire campus spiked in 2006 at 13, then dropped back down to three in 2007.

Burglary remains the number one crime committed on campus and almost doubled from 21 in 2005 to 41 in 2007. Liquor law violations places second on the crime list. In 2005, 17 arrests were made on campus involving alcohol. That number rose to 28 in 2006, then reduced by one in 2007 to 27.

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