MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — A Manhattan drug court judge has offered one of the five Columbia University students charged with dealing drugs on campus a year of inpatient marijuana drug treatment as an alternative to jail.
Accused pot dealer Christopher Coles, 21, will have to decide by Nov. 22 whether to accept the deal in exchange for not having to go to jail or be saddled with a permanent criminal record, his lawyer said Tuesday. In exchange, Coles would be barred from going to school or working while receiving treatment, his lawyer said.
"This is probably, without being overly dramatic, the single most important decision this young man will ever have to make," lawyer Marc Agnifilo told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Ellen Coin.
Coles and his family would have to foot the roughly $40,000 bill the treatment program would cost, his lawyer said.
Coles was arrested in December along with Jose Stephan Perez, 20, and Michael Wymbs, 22, Adam Klein, 21, and Harrison David, 21, as part of "Operation Ivy League," a several month undercover sting.
The five were accused of dealing marijuana, LSD, Adderall, Ecstasy and cocaine on the Morningside Heights campus and out of their fraternity Houses.
David pleaded guilty in July to criminal sale of a controlled substance in exchange for six months in jail and is currently incarcerated.
Perez, Wymbs and Klein are due back in Manhattan Supreme Court on Nov. 15. They were each denied the opportunity to seek the drug program, which is known as "diversion," in a recent ruling.