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Columbia University student in drug ring begins jail sentence

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The ringleader nabbed in a Columbia University drug bust that stunned the Morningside Heights campus last year began serving a six-month sentence Tuesday.

While the sentence may appear to be light, observers called it a “standard” amount — even for a well-off kid at an Ivy League school.

Harrison David, 20, was handcuffed and taken into custody following his sentencing in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. As part of an agreement with prosecutors, David pleaded guilty in July to felony criminal sale of a controlled substance in exchange for the prison time and five years probation.

He could even be released from Rikers Island in 3-1/2 months depending on good behavior and if he’s credited for the two weeks he already served after his Dec. 7 arrest.

Ron Kuby, a prominent defense lawyer, observed that the seemingly short prison time isn’t much different than what others would receive for their first felony drug conviction.

In general, however, he considers it a harsh sentence – regardless of the person’s background. David was an engineering major and an honor society student.

“The time in jail is more than sufficient to destroy this young person’s life,” Kuby said. “I never thought the solution to putting away poor black people and destroying their lives would be to put more white people in jail.”

Also arrested were Christopher Coles, 21; Adam Klein, 21; Jose Stephan Perez, 20; and Michael Wymbs, 22, who were part of the ring that sold cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, Adderall and LSD in dorms and frat houses.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said they would not seek jail time for the suspects as long as they plead guilty, otherwise the case could go to trial. They are due back in court Oct. 11.

(With Reuters)

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