Oakland University Police Department cruisers surrounded an apartment in the George T. Matthews apartments Wednesday, April 21 after securing a search warrant and arrested two OU students after finding 35.1 grams of marijuana at the residence.
“For what was about a three week period, we were watching,” OUPD Captain Mark Gordon said. “So whether or not 35 grams is a lot, the amount of traffic that came in and out in that period of time was enormous.”
He said while the amount found in the apartment was relatively small, there could have been any amount of marijuana at any given time.
“They were selling a lot of marijuana,” Gordon said.
OUPD officers were tipped off to the activity during routine observations of the campus. They noticed there was a heavy amount of foot traffic to and from the apartment.
“We have no evidence that it was a drug ring,” Gordon said of the arrests. “They were selling to what appeared to be both on-campus students and people coming from off campus.”
Rhiannon Zielinski, a senior majoring in journalism and political science, lived next door to the apartment and was in her own residence the day of the drug bust.
Zielinski moved into Matthews Court in January and said she noticed the smell of marijuana emanating from the neighboring apartment her first night there.
“I never knew that they were dealing; It never really came to my mind at all,” Zielinski said. “I just thought it was kind of stupid. You’re on a college campus and don’t want to get in trouble.”
Officials have not been able to identify all those that were coming to purchase.
One arrested individual was charged with a three-count felony warrant. The charge came because of the involvement of narcotics and the fact that the individual possessed drugs with the intent to deliver.
This suspect sold narcotics to an undercover officer the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team sent in to purchase marijuana on two different occasions. A leaseholder on the apartment, the same individual sold the officer dime bags of marijuana both times.
The other individual arrested was also a leaseholder on the apartment, but OUPD determined that the individual never sold narcotics and had no intent to sell.
“The institution is obviously making a statement that they won’t tolerate that type of activity on campus,” Gordon said. “He was banned not only from the residence halls but from the entire campus. And at this point, it’s permanent.”
Gordon added that while he cannot speak for the university on its drug policies, there is generally a zero-tolerance level of drug use and drug possession on campus.
“Any time that the police department is aware of drug activity on campus, we are very proactive,” Gordon said.
Gordon said he could only think of two similar events in his 22 years of law enforcement, but the others “did not have as much activity as this.”
After three weeks of observing the apartment and gathering evidence, OUPD secured a search warrant and planned the raid.
According to Gordon, OUPD picked a day that had seen a fair amount of activity in the past.
Matthews Court apartments house some campus families and though Zielinski said that her decision to live on campus next year did not change because of the event, but she said she would have been “upset” if she had children living with her.