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Marijuana bust: Ohio students headed to Aspen arrested for possession

Big photos below.
Big photos below.

Pot is now technically legal in Colorado for recreational use -- but smoking underage on a bus bound for this state most certainly is not. That was a tough lesson for a group of Ohio students who were caught with marijuana and other drugs on their way here for an Aspen ski trip. But they didn't make it very far. Four students were arrested in Indiana and charged with felonies -- and dozens more were cited for illegal consumption.

Butch Baker, the sheriff in Henry County, Indiana, tells us that at around 3 p.m. on December 14, law enforcement officials got a call from a bus driver that college students on the bus were smoking marijuana.

When asked to stop smoking on the bus, they'd allegedly continued to light up. "Several of the young people had drugs. A lot of them were drinking alcohol," says Baker, who adds that most were underage.

Peter Banks
Peter Banks
Henry County Sheriff

Baker says that the driver pulled into a truck stop on I-70 in Indiana and alerted the authorities, who eventually showed up for a search. Three buses carrying a total of 200 students were searched. In addition to alcohol and marijuana, he notes, other controlled substances found; authorities are still determining what all the drugs were.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that LSD and other hallucinogenic drugs were uncovered; the Dispatch also confirms that most of the students were from Ohio State University and that the trip was part of a Ski and Snowboard Club outing to Aspen.

Ultimately, Baker tells us, four students were arrested. Liam McMahon, 20, was arrested for possession of marijuana, a felony, as well as possession of alcohol of a minor, which is a misdemeanor. Peter Banks, 22, was arrested for possession of marijuana. And Andrew Jeffries, 20, and George Burke, 18, were both arrested for possession of a controlled substance, which is a class D felony. And even if they had made it to Colorado and were all at least 21, the amount of marijuana they had might still have violated this state's law. (Last week, we wrote about the arrest of a Denver resident who was caught on a bus in Lamar with eleven pounds of pot).

Additionally, Baker says, around forty other students were given citations for illegal consumption. They were not taken to jail like the other four, but they may have to pay fines.

An official report, on view below, notes that the students had been asked several times to stop smoking on the bus and that an announcement was even made on the PA system, but the students continued smoking. The report also notes that Jeffries told an officer he didn't have anything illegal on him and then, after the search, said he didn't know what the drugs were in his ziplock baggie.

Baker says the four have bonded out.

According to the Lantern, an OSU student paper, school officials say the event was not funded by the university and apparently the ski group is an independent organization.

Continue for the rest of the mugshots and the full police report.

Andrew Jeffries
Andrew Jeffries
Henry County Sheriff

George Burke
George Burke
Henry County Sheriff

Liam McMahon
Liam McMahon
Henry County Sheriff

And here's a full report.

Henry County Sheriff

More from our Marijuana archive: "Del Norte pot club shut the day it opened, but owner is planning a new location"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.