By Paula Ann Solis
Local police arrested four men Wednesday near Baylor campus after searching two homes in connection to an extensive marijuana drug ring.
After three months of following leads and working with Drug Enforcement Administration officers, McGregor Police and Lorena Police served two warrants with the cooperation of the Baylor Police Department. While McGregor and DEA officers handled the the first search warrant Wednesday morning, Baylor police officers handled the second search warrant later that day, said Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak.
The investigators on the case are looking into the possible arrests of more than 50 Baylor students who are being identified as retail customers of the four men arrested, said McGregor Police Department Investigator Joe Coy.
Of those arrested, two are current Baylor students. Mesquite senior Alexander Brian Leake, 21, was charged with possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of less than 4 grams of controlled substances and money laundering. He was released Thursday on bonds totaling $110,000.
Austin sophomore Solanga Lakshan Weeraratne, 21, was charged with money laundering and possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. Weeraratne is out on bonds totaling $6,000.
The other two men arrested are former Baylor students. John Sebastian Lofaro, 21, was a Baylor student from fall 2010 to fall 2012 but did not complete his degree, according to Baylor’s Assistant Vice President for Media Communications Lori Fogleman. His exact charges are not yet known.
Richard Brian Ostheimer, 32, graduated from Baylor in May 2013 with a degree in sociology. Ostheimer is still in custody at McLennan County Jail with bonds set at $100,000 on charges of possession of more than 4 ounces of marijuana with intent to distribute and for possession of less than 4 grams of controlled substances.
During the search of the two homes, officers confiscated marijuana, weapons and other controlled substances, Coy said.
Coy said this investigation was launched after a car was stopped and marijuana was found inside three months ago in Lorena. Because someone in the car was a McGregor resident, Coy’s department stepped in. Because the investigation is ongoing, Coy could not identify the person in the car.
“After that, we basically worked our way up the food chain,” Coy said. “Those in the car weren’t Baylor students. The distribution had left the Baylor-bubble.”
Because the investigation of this case is ongoing, both Doak and Coy could not offer more information as to when more arrests will be made, though Coy said he believes it will be in the very near future.
Baylor officials are also unable to currently offer further information on the students involved.
“All we can say at this point is that we are disappointed,” Fogleman said.