Ex-student pleads guilty in Wesleyan University overdoses

AP News
|
Posted: Nov 12, 2015 8:59 PM
Ex-student pleads guilty in Wesleyan University overdoses

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former Wesleyan University student pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal drug charge stemming from on-campus overdoses that sent 11 people to hospitals earlier this year.

Zachary Kramer of Bethesda, Maryland, pleaded guilty in federal court in New Haven to conspiracy to possess and distribute the synthetic party drug MDMA — known as Molly — and synthetic marijuana.

Kramer is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10. Prosecutors are recommending one year to 18 months in prison.

Prosecutors said 10 Wesleyan students and another person overdosed in February after taking what they thought was Molly they got from people supplied by Kramer, but tests showed it contained AB Fubinaca, a synthetic cannabinoid. Two students nearly died, including one who had to be revived when his heart stopped beating. Synthetic drugs have been blamed for numerous overdoses across the country.

Kramer and fellow Wesleyan student Eric Lonergan, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were arrested on federal charges and expelled from the college because of overdoses in February and last year. Lonergan is expected to plead guilty Nov. 23, according to court documents. Two other students were arrested on state charges that remain pending.

"It was the right thing to do," Kramer's lawyer, William Dow III, said about the guilty plea. "We're looking forward to the day of sentencing where we can show the judge how much this young man has progressed since these events occurred. He's matured. He's got better judgment."

Authorities said Lonergan began selling Molly on and around the Wesleyan campus in November 2013, charging $200 per gram. Prosecutors said Kramer began selling Molly to Wesleyan students in the summer of 2014, buying the drug from Lonergan. Around December 2014, Kramer replaced Lonergan as the primary seller of Molly on campus, prosecutors said.

In September 2014, several students overdosed and were hospitalized after taking what they thought was Molly that they had obtained from Lonergan, authorities said. Tests showed the drugs they took contained AB Fubinaca and an MDMA-related substance.