15 TCU students among 18 arrested in Fort Worth drug bust
FORT WORTH -- Fifteen TCU students were among 18 people arrested Wednesday after a months-long investigation, the culmination of hand-to-hand drug purchases by undercover officers at a smorgasbord of sites -- including a fraternity house, a Hooters restaurant and a Kroger parking lot.
Four of those arrested are TCU football players, two are women and at least two lived in fraternity houses, according to arrest warrant affidavits released by Fort Worth police.
One person named in an arrest warrant was still being sought Wednesday night, said Sgt. Pedro Criado, a police spokesman. Another warrant was later found to have been issued in error, he said.
Seven of those arrested are 20, six are 21 and four are 19. Ten were arrested on suspicion of selling marijuana, three on suspicion of selling controlled substances, three on suspicion of selling both marijuana and a controlled substance, and one on suspicion of selling fake LSD and marijuana. One person, who was not identified, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana, Criado said.
Some of those arrested were roommates.
Police characterized the arrested students as being loosely connected, but not organized.
The players arrested are linebacker Tanner Brock, the team's leading tackler during the 2010 Rose Bowl season; defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey; offensive tackle Tyler Horn; and safety Devin Johnson, according to affidavits.
Brock, Yendrey and Horn are accused of selling hydroponic marijuana from a house in the 3400 block of Brady Avenue in Fort Worth, according to the affidavits.
According to the affidavits, TCU football coach Gary Patterson ordered his players to take drug tests Feb. 1 -- National Signing Day-- and Brock, after being contacted by an undercover officer, said he wasn't worried about it because there "would be about 60 people being screwed."
Johnson told an undercover officer that 82 players failed the test, according to the documents.
Sources told the Star-Telegram that Patterson ordered the drug test after a prize recruit told him that he would not attend TCU because of drug use by players.
"There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days," Patterson said in a statement.
Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said, "Today's events have changed the life of everybody at TCU."
The students were caught selling marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and various prescription drugs, TCU Police Chief Steven McGee said. The transactions took place at various locations.
One of the students, Katherine Ann Petrie, 20, is suspected of selling marijuana to an undercover officer from a house on ritzy Bellaire Drive South with her Lexus SUV parked out front. She also faces charges of unlawful delivery of a simulated controlled substance; police say she sold fake LSD to an undercover officer.
Richard Clay Putney, 19, is accused of selling marijuana to an undercover officer multiple times at the Sigma Chi fraternity house.
Cynthia Jaqueline Zambrano, 19, is accused of selling oxymorphone, a prescription drug, to an undercover officer in front of Macy's at Hulen Mall. Zambrano, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, had a little girl with her during the transaction, according to the affidavits.
Bud Pollard Dillard, 21, is accused of selling $775 worth of alprozam, or Xanax, to an undercover officer at his home in the 3200 block of Waits Avenue, according to the affidavits. The sale was arranged by his roommate, Earl Patrick Burke, 21, who was also arrested on charges of delivery of a controlled substance, the affidavit stated.
Fort Worth police said that the investigation, which began six months ago after tips from parents and students, is ongoing and that more arrests are possible.
"There is no doubt that all of those arrested today are drug dealers," McGee said at a Wednesday morning news conference. "They sold drugs to undercover officers. They dealt on all levels, to students and nonstudents. They would sell to anyone, but our primary focus was those who were dealing to TCU students."
The focus was on arresting the dealers, but as detectives delve deeper into the interviews, more significant suppliers could be identified and arrested, Fort Worth police Capt. Ken Dean said.
A small amount of drugs was seized, but police said they had not determined how much.
Initially, the arrest warrants included one for a 26-year-old man who was accused of delivery of a controlled substance. Later on Wednesday, police acknowledged that the warrant was in error and that he is not a suspect.
Expulsion and prison
Boschini said that being open and transparent about the arrests was the right thing to do and that comments from parents and students support the decision to get ahead of the problem.
"TCU has clear expectations for its students: that they behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law," Boschini said. "These students are charged with acting in a manner that is incompatible with TCU values, against the code of student conduct and against the law. That is simply unacceptable and such reported behavior is not tolerated at this university."
Some of the students arrested Wednesday are members of fraternities, but police said there was no indication that the fraternities themselves were involved.
Police say some of the purchases occurred in a drug-free zone, which increases the penalties. For example, selling drugs is a state jail felony with a maximum punishment of up to two years in prison, but if done in a drug-free zone, the charge could be raised to a third-degree felony with punishment of two to 10 years in prison, according to state law.
Boschini said the students arrested were immediately "separated from TCU," comparable to being suspended, and that they face immediate expulsion if they are found guilty. According to the TCU student handbook, any student charged with distributing drugs is subject to immediate expulsion.
In 2011, 71 students were disciplined for drug law violations, less than 1 percent of TCU's total enrollment.
One student, senior Lacey Taylor, said Wednesday that she wasn't surprised by the arrests.
"TCU is a great school, but every morning we get e-mails about alcohol consumption, assaults," she said. "A lot of the kids here come from wealthy backgrounds, and they get bored."
Staff writers Stefan Stevenson and Diane Smith contributed to this report.