UP arrests freshman for marijuana possession in dorm room

Sheila Burt

A Weinberg freshman was arrested Friday and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana under 30 grams and two counts of possession of drug equipment, police said Monday.

Richard Chough, 18, also could be charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, pending additional testing of other drugs seized, Assistant Chief Daniel McAleer of University Police said.

Officers received a call about drug use in a room at the Foster-Walker Complex at about 8:33 p.m. on Friday.

Chough was arrested after police found the drugs and related paraphernalia, McAleer said.

Chough could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Before Chough can be charged with the felony, the other seized drugs — two brown dry mushrooms — must be sent to the Illinois State Police for further testing.

A field test completed by UP showed that the mushrooms contained the chemical psilocybin, which is an hallucinogen, McAleer said.

A bag containing a leafy substance also tested positive for marijuana.

In addition to the drugs, police found and confiscated several suspicious items in Chough’s room.

The items included drug scales, rolling papers, a vaporizer and hose, and empty glass vials commonly used for drug packaging, McAleer said.

An officer also found a mirror with two small hollowed cylinders on top, which he recognized as a common delivery system for powder cocaine, McAleer said. Chough currently is not facing charges regarding intent to deliver drugs.

When officers entered the room, they smelled marijuana and saw four students sitting in the room, including Chough, who lives there.

The three other students were referred to the Office of Student Affairs for discipline after the incident.

“The owner of the room appears to be the one who had possession of all the drugs and the drug equipment,” McAleer said.

The students voluntarily surrendered a green substance revealed to be cannabis once police arrived, and Chough also told police there was a bag in a steel canister in the middle drawer of his desk.

Chough opened the middle portion of the canister, which revealed a substance that also tested positive as cannabis, McAleer said.

Chough was placed under arrest and transported to UP for processing. He was released at 12:10 a.m. Saturday.

With the misdemeanor charges, Chough could face a fine of up to $1,000 and less than one year in a Cook County jail, McAleer said.

If charged with the felony count, Chough could serve more than a year in a state correction facility and pay a fine of $1,000 or more.

“People have to be aware that the possession of cannabis is illegal in the state of Illinois,” McAleer said. “If you’re found to be with it, you can be arrested and charged.”

Chough is scheduled to appear June 1 at Circuit Court in Skokie.