Education

4 students arrested at ECU fraternity drug bust

Five members of Phi Kappa Tau at East Carolina University were arrested after a raid on the fraternity house in Greenville.
Five members of Phi Kappa Tau at East Carolina University were arrested after a raid on the fraternity house in Greenville. N&O file photo

Four East Carolina University students were arrested at a fraternity off campus Tuesday when authorities with a search warrant raided the house.

The arrests happened Tuesday at the Phi Kappa Tau house after a three-week investigation by the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force, made up of law enforcement from five area agencies.

The task force said officers seized 2,500 bars of Xanax and two shotguns at the house at 409 Elizabeth St. in Greenville. Xanax is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The drug is commonly abused and can cause overdoses. Bars are long tablets that can be broken into smaller doses.

Authorities said marijuana was also being sold from the house.

The national organization of Phi Kappa Tau suspended operations at its ECU chapter pending further investigation. The university is also reviewing the actions of the students involved.

Those charged were Grant Swanner, 20, charged with possession of Xanax with intent to sell and deliver, maintaining a dwelling for drug sales, possession of drug paraphernalia and underage possession of alcohol; Nolan Leonard, 19, charged with possession of Xanax with intent to sell and deliver, maintaining a dwelling for drug sales, possession of marijuana up to one-half ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia; Jordan Kowalski, 20, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver and maintaining a dwelling for drug sales; and William Carter, 20, possession of drug paraphernalia and underage possession of alcohol.

The raid was the latest trouble involving fraternities at ECU. Three other fraternities at the university have been shut down this year after hazing and alcohol violations. The actions were taken by the national organizations of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Chi.

"We are working diligently to change the culture of Greek Life at East Carolina University," said a statement by Virginia Hardy, ECU's vice chancellor for student affairs.

She said the university works closely with national Greek organizations, the Greenville Police and others to hold students accountable for breaking the law, violating the student code of conduct or putting people at risk.

"It is disappointing that some groups or individuals do not see the value in improving the positive footprint their organizations can and do have on young men and women and in our community," Hardy's statement said.

Phi Kappa Tau's social media sites feature photographs of its large privately-owned brick home in Greenville. Its Twitter page features the phrase, "Developing men of character into men of distinction."

Hardy said the university has been working with a higher-education consulting group that focuses on Greek organizations and risk prevention.

Starting this fall, the university will launch several new initiatives, including an Alcohol Skills Training Program for all fraternities, sororities and club sports teams. Student leaders will also receive more intensive training, and parents will receive more communication from ECU about Greek life.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

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