Indianola police make drug-related campus arrest

by Joshua KullaStaff Writer

On Sept. 20, freshman Christopher Hollander was arrested at 312 Kresge Hall on charges of possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and alcohol while under the age of 21.

According to the official Indianola Police Department report, Indianola police discovered Hollander and two other young men, freshman Andrew Guzman and sophomore Branden Frame, at Memorial Park at approximately 11:09 p.m., nine minutes after public curfew went into effect.

Indianola Police Officer Justin Keller approached the trio and spoke with Hollander, advising him and his companions of the curfew, per Indianola city ordinance. Keller detected the smell of what he believed to be marijuana on and around the group, and asked them if they had been smoking.

The report described Keller’s observation of bloodshot, watery eyes and slow, slurred speech in Hollander, who was asked aside and questioned regarding his activities that evening.

When asked if he had been smoking marijuana, Hollander first denied that he had, but when Keller informed him that he could clearly detect the smell of marijuana on his person, and asked him if any of the substance remained in the park that the public might find, Hollander confessed that there was none left, as he and his companions had smoked it all.

Present at the time of the questioning was a bottle of Gatorade mixed with some form of alcohol, which was disposed of at the scene.

Keller received permission from Hollander to search his vehicle for equipment used to roll marijuana cigarettes, as Hollander had admitted to rolling his own. In the vehicle, Keller discovered the stems and seeds of marijuana plants, but no such equipment. Hollander admitted, when asked, that the equipment may have been at his campus dorm room, which lead to the subsequent search of the room.

Accompanied by Hollander and Indianola Police Officer Jeff Gingerich, Keller searched Kresge 312. Hollander produced luggage which, when searched, was found to contain two Crown Royal bags containing marijuana stems and seeds, along with a “vatra” case, which contained a marijuana pipe. The pipe itself contained traces of recently smoked marijuana, while other compartments of the luggage were found to contain marijuana roach and an amount of plant material believed by the officers to be marijuana. In addition to the marijuana and drug paraphernalia, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka was found in Hollander’s freezer.

The items were confiscated and entered into evidence toward the issued charges, which, because of the case beginning on public property, are subject to the penalties of national, state, and local drug laws. Hollander was transported by police to the Warren County jail.

In Kresge, reaction to the presence of illegal substances and Hollander’s arrest was geared toward the arrestee’s reputation of drug use and consequent altercations with the law.

“He had been caught a week before in Des Moines and got a citation for pot and paraphernalia,” freshman Ben Klaus said. “He had been smoking his room, and people knew. It was only a matter of time before he got caught.”

Simpson’s policy on the possession and use of drugs defers to the law and law enforcement in that the national legal drinking age, designation of approved drinking sites for those of age, and the regulation of controlled substances is upheld by campus security, while the consequences of violations are dealt by local law enforcement.

When it comes to the search for and confiscation of illegal drugs like marijuana in the dorms, the job is left up to trained law enforcement personnel, while on-site Residence Life staff is empowered to deal with cases of under-age and unapproved drinking.

“When it’s [drug use] brought to our attention, we’ll try to identify the location and go from there,” said Jeff Martens, area coordinator for Barker, Kresge and first-year programs. “We’re not searching rooms. We would never set up a policy of random searches. If one of our staff smells a substance like marijuana and believes that something has been going on, we’ll call campus security and have them come over to make the decision of whether or not we need to get the police involved.”