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Police arrest students for drugs, paraphernalia - The Pitt News

The Pitt News

Police arrest students for drugs, paraphernalia

By The Pitt News Staff

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated

Pittsburgh police have arrested six Pitt students after finding drugs in their South Oakland home after a 911 call last week.

After a home invasion that occurred at about 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 20, at a Juliet Street home inhabited by Pitt students Ben A. Friedman, Isaac A. Callihan, Ben D. Morgenstern, Denise Shcherbina, Thomas C. Chang and Leo H. Hildebrandt, police searched the victims’ home and found marijuana, cocaine, LSD and drug paraphernalia.

Police have arrested the five men and Shcherbina — who attends Pitt-Greensburg — for felonies and misdemeanors. Chang, Hildebrandt, Friedman and Callihan were all arraigned Jan. 25, and all await preliminary hearings for 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 3. Morgenstern and Shcherbina await a preliminary hearing for 12:30 p.m. on March 7. Police had filed arrest warrants for the six students Friday, Jan. 22.

All of the roommates’ arrests are on charges related to drug paraphernalia and drugs found in the home at the time of the invasion, according to court documents.

Police responded to a 911 call for the home invasion, where they arrested and charged Aleksander H. Wojnaroski, 18, for attempting to rob the house and saw drug paraphernalia sitting in the open, court documents showed.

Later that evening, police obtained a search warrant and searched the students’ house at about 11:30 p.m., finding large bags of marijuana, powder cocaine, LSD, drug paraphernalia and thousands of dollars, according to court documents.

On Friday, Pittsburgh Police charged four of the students with felonies and misdemeanors related to possessing and selling drugs and charged two of the students with misdemeanors for possessing drug paraphernalia, court documents said.

Police arrested Wojnaroski, a Fox Chapel resident, Wednesday, charging him with burglary, robbery and using an airsoft gun to commit a crime, court documents said. Wojnaroski is awaiting a preliminary hearing, set for 12:30 p.m. Feb. 3, in the Allegheny County Jail.

In Chang’s bedroom, police found five large and one small Ziploc bags of marijuana, two baggies of powder cocaine, $4,921, three scales, vacuum bags, a grinder and a vacuum sealer, according to the police report.

Police charged Chang, a sophomore, with two counts of possessing marijuana and powder cocaine, two counts of intending to deliver marijuana and cocaine and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, the complaint said.

Chang did not respond to a series of phone and email messages asking for comment Monday.

In Friedman’s bedroom, police found the LSD, suspected marijuana cookies covered in plastic wrap and $2,085, according to a criminal complaint.

Police charged Friedman, a sophomore, with two counts of possessing individual dosages of LSD and marijuana cookies and one count of intending to deliver the LSD, the complaint said.

In Callihan’s bedroom, police found five large Ziploc bags of marijuana, six small envelopes containing THC wax, two scales and a grinder, according to a criminal complaint.

Police charged Callihan, a sophomore, with two counts of possessing marijuana and THC wax, two counts of intending to deliver the marijuana and THC wax and one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, the complaint said.

Callihan did not respond to a series of phone and email messages asking for comment Monday.

In Hildebrandt’s bedroom, police found one large bag of marijuana, according to a criminal complaint.

Police charged Hildebrandt, an undeclared sophomore, with one count of possessing marijuana and one count of intending to deliver it, the complaint said. Hildebrandt did not respond to a series of phone and email messages asking for comment Monday.

In Morgenstern’s bedroom, police found a red plastic grinder with marijuana residue inside, according to a criminal complaint.

Police charged Morgenstern, 19 and a sophomore engineering major, with one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, the complaint said. Morgenstern had previously declined to comment on his charge and declined Monday to comment on his warrant.

In Shcherbina’s bedroom, police found a grinder and two glass pipes, according to a criminal complaint.

Police charged Shcherbina, 19, with one count of possessing drug paraphernalia, the complaint said. Shcherbina said she was not home when police arrested Wojnarski and she has responded to her warrant, but declined to comment further.

Both Morgenstern and Shcherbina have preliminary hearings set for 12:30 p.m. March 7, according to court documents. Police have not yet taken the other four students into custody.

The students could also face sanctions from Pitt, spokesperson John Fedele said in an email Friday. Though Pitt does not prosecute student offenders, the University’s Judicial Board could issue sanctions against the students for violating Pitt’s Student Code of Conduct.

Section D of the Student Code of Conduct states that students are prohibited from using, possessing, distributing and selling controlled substances and paraphernalia.

If a judge convicts the students of their charges and requires them to serve jail time, the students are able to apply for a refund if they are unable to complete the semester, Fedele said.

Sanctions could range from a warning to suspension or dismissal, Fedele said. As of Friday morning, the University had not issued any sanctions.

“If charges are brought against [the students] through the Judicial Board and they are found responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct, sanctions could be levied,” Fedele said.

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Police arrest students for drugs, paraphernalia