Trafficking charges may be dismissed against former UNC researcher

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comOctober 30, 2013 

— A Wake County prosecutor agreed this month to dismiss drug-trafficking charges against a former UNC-Chapel Hill researcher and college track star who was arrested earlier this year after police found more than 56 pounds of marijuana in her West Raleigh apartment.

Jaslyn Ana Grullon, 26, who now lives in Charlotte, pleaded guilty Oct. 7 to a lesser charge of felony possession of marijuana, but Wake Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Gray agreed to defer prosecution of the offense for one year.

Grullon must follow the conditions of a supervised probation that includes 225 hours of community service with a nonprofit organization, a substance abuse assessment and at least 10 hours of drug treatment classes.

If she completes the conditions of the supervised probation by Oct. 14 of next year, the charge of felony possession of marijuana will likely be dismissed, Gray said.

“It’s up to the judge,” she said.

On Jan. 9, Grullon left her job as a researcher at UNC-CH, stopped for groceries at Food Lion and then arrived at her third-floor apartment near Glenwood Avenue, where she was met by two Raleigh detectives with a search warrant.

They said that her roommate and boyfriend, Antonio Lamont Burden, 28, and another person had been detained during a traffic stop. Marijuana was found in the vehicle, and the detectives wanted to search her apartment.

During the search, the detectives found more than 56 pounds of marijuana stuffed inside black trash bags in the bedroom and bathroom that Grullon said Burden used.

Grullon told police she knew Burden smoked marijuana “occasionally,” but he never smoked inside the apartment, which was leased in her name. She denied knowing the marijuana was being kept there.

Gray said Burden took full responsibility for the marijuana last month in Wake Superior Court. He was sentenced on Sept. 6 to more than three years in prison. She said Burden was willing to testify in court that his former girlfriend did not know about the marijuana he stored in her apartment.

“We felt like the felony possession charges (against Grullon) were entirely appropriate,” Gray said. “She was the lease-holder when the marijuana was found. She would have known there was some marijuana in the house, but the evidence would not show that she knew there was a trafficking amount in the home.”

Grullon resigned from her job at UNC-CH shortly after her arrest. She started a new job with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services in September but was fired last week after a co-worker found the story of her arrest online and showed it to her supervisor.

Grullon, a native of Winton who was a record-setting hurdler at East Carolina University, now fears that the case will forever haunt her, especially in her professional career.

She is no longer in contact with Burden, who is behind bars at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury, state records show.

“We don’t have much to communicate about,” she said. “What words can take back what I went through?”

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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