Four arrested in drug bust, dozens of students under investigation

MugshotsBy Paula Ann Solis
Staff Writer

A drug ring distributing $30,000 to $40,000 of high-grade marijuana monthly near Baylor campus HAS resulted in four arrests and an investigation of more than 50 Baylor students.

McGregor, Lorena and Baylor Police departments, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, served two warrants less than one mile from campus on Aug. 28. Marijuana, prescription pills, packaging materials, weapons and more than $12,000 were found in the two residences, according to the McGregor Police Department. The customer base of the suspected distributors is the Baylor student body, said McGregor Police Department’s Criminal Investigator Lt. 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.

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.

John Sebastian Lofaro, 21, was a Baylor student from fall 2010 to fall 2012 but did not complete his degree, according to Lori Fogleman, Baylor’s Assistant Vice President for Media Communications. His exact charges are not yet known and he is no longer in custody.

Coy said this investigation was launched three months ago after a car was stopped by Lorena police officers and marijuana was found inside. Because someone in the car was a McGregor resident, Coy’s department stepped in. Since 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.”

While McGregor and DEA officers handled the first search warrant at the 1900 block of South 12th Street, Baylor police officers handled the second search warrant at the 1800 block of South 11th Street, said Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak.

Two day’s after the first two search warrants, a third warrant for Leake’s safety deposit box at a downtown Bank of America was served and $30,000 was confiscated by police.

Doak said this investigation has completely been in the hands of McGregor and Lorena investigators with only some Baylor Police Department involvement. However, Coy said Baylor’s role is set to expand.

As investigators continue looking into the possible arrests of more than 50 Baylor students identified as retail customers of the four men arrested, Baylor officers will take a lead role when more arrests take place on campus, Coy said.

“Things are still coming together and we are still analyzing evidence,” Coy said. “Little by little this is falling into place and we look forward to making some headway and arrests very soon.”

For those retail customers still being investigated by McGregor and Baylor police departments, charges of co-conspiracy, engaging in organized criminal activity or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute could be applied, Coy said. As far as Baylor’s policies are concerned, students in connection to drug activities could receive punishments varying from oral warnings by university officials or be expelled, according to Baylor’s Student Policies and Procedures website.

Baylor officials are currently unable to offer further information on the students involved or the punishments to be given.
“All we can say at this point is that we are disappointed,” Fogleman said.