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Officials: Stony Brook student had drugs, $35G in dorm

Left, an image of the exterior at Stony

Left, an image of the exterior at Stony Brook University. Right, Lola Tan, a Stony Brook student from Elmhurst, Queens, who pleaded not guilty to felony drug charges after authorities seized $35,000 in cash, marijuana, hallucinogens and drug paraphernalia from her dorm room, officials said. (May 21, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait, Suffolk DA

Stony Brook University police and fire emergency officers responding to a fire alarm at a dormitory found no fire, instead discovering a large cache of illegal drugs in a senior's room, officials said.

The student, Lola Tan, 22, of Elmhurst, Queens, was charged with several felonies after marijuana, hallucinogens, and drug paraphernalia were found there, authorities said Tuesday. They also seized more than $35,000 cash they said was in the room Monday.

Tan, arraigned Tuesday in First District Court, Central Islip, pleaded not guilty to seven charges -- four related to criminal possession of a controlled substance, one of unlawful possession of marijuana, and two of criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

Bail was set at $75,000 or $150,000 bond, the Suffolk district attorney's office said, adding the court granted a bail source hearing to determine the source of any money used for bail.

Stony Brook University Police Chief Robert Lenahan said in a statement Tuesday that university police responded to a 4:10 p.m. alarm at Lauterbur Hall, a 338-bed undergraduate residence. The building was initially evacuated because of the alarm, until it was determined to have been set off by steam from a shower, officials said.

Tan was in a suite that had three double occupancy rooms. "Upon arrival, responders entered the room to investigate the cause of the alarm and observed marijuana and additional items in plain view," the university statement said.

The Suffolk district attorney's office said that in addition to the drugs university police found an open safe with $35,960 in Tan's dorm room.

The university said that Tan was initially taken to campus police headquarters, where she was questioned and arrested. University police then took her to the Suffolk County Police Department's Fourth Precinct in Hauppauge to be held for arraignment.

Tan, a psychology and economics major, was preparing to graduate this year, university officials said.

Her current status is unclear. Because of the charges, a "University Standards" review process is taking place, and immediate action will be taken based on that review, Lauren Sheprow, a university spokeswoman, said.

The university police investigation into this incident is continuing, Sheprow said.

Tan is being represented by a Legal Aid attorney, according to the district attorney's office.

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