Eleven arrested following drug raid at UNH fraternity house
Numerous people were taken from the ATO house in handcuffs and loaded into a large police van. (Clynton Namuo)
Police arrested 11 students early Sunday morning following a raid at a University of New Hampshire fraternity house that was the culmination of a lengthy drug investigation, which happened to coincide with the report of a sexual assault there early the same day.
Officers converged on the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house at 66 Main St. in the center of downtown around 6 a.m. and confiscated a variety of narcotics, including marijuana, prescriptions and drugs that need to be tested before their identity can be confirmed, UNH's Executive Director of Public Safety Paul Dean said.
Nine students were arrested on drug charges and two more for disorderly conduct after they allegedly tried to interfere with officers who were searching the home and arresting residents, Durham police Deputy Chief Rene Kelley said.
All of those arrested are ATO fraternity brothers, Dean said, though two of them lived at 42 Garrison Road and were taken into custody there.
As of Sunday afternoon, police were searching for three more students who weren't home when the raid occurred, Dean said.
A sexual assault that allegedly happened at the fraternity house was reported to Durham police around 2 a.m. Sunday, Kelley said. He would not disclose when the assault allegedly occurred or detail the allegation. No one has been arrested in relation to that incident as of yet, and the investigation is ongoing, he said.
The raid comes less than a month after ATO lost its official recognition from UNH for five years following an incident in late August in which an underage woman was found to have gotten drunk there. The punishment is among the most severe that UNH can deliver to a fraternity and was handed down following a string of infractions over numerous years.
ATO was already on probation when the August incident occurred.
Wynn Smiley, CEO of ATO's Indianapolis-based national office, said the parent organization's board voted last weekend to revoke the UNH chapter's charter, effectively shuttering the organization until a new chapter can be rebuilt sometime in the future.
He said the local fraternity brothers did not yet know of the revocation, which was being discussed first with alumni, but that the process will certainly continue in light of these most recent allegations.
“We did not have any idea that that kind of activity was going on, nor did the alumni,” Smiley said of the charges, which he called “disturbing.”
He added: “The chapter provided the loaded gun to authorities and dared them to pull the trigger and they did and it's remarkable.”
Police are alleging that drugs were sold out of the house on numerous occasions. Durham and UNH police, along with the state attorney general's drug task force, have been investigating activity there for about a year, Dean said.
“I would say that this is a substantial source of drug sales to the UNH community,” he said. “This is certainly not something that is conducive for a safe educational environment.”
Upon entering the home, police noticed numerous obvious health and safety issues, Kelley said, including exit doors without handles and disabled fire alarms and smoke detectors.
Town officials subsequently inspected the house and deemed it unsafe and uninhabitable. No one can live in the house until numerous repairs are made.
It's unclear where the fraternity members will live, though Kelley said a property manager was trying to arrange alternate housing.
The chapter has about 50 members, about 25 of whom live at the fraternity house, Smiley said.
Durham police Chief David Kurz said in a statement that raid was more than just a string of arrests.
“This kind of behavior and activity is unacceptable and we hope these arrests send a strong message that it will not be tolerated,” he said.
Police with Barrington and Laconia also assisted the raid.
Police cruisers were crowded in front of ATO Sunday morning as officers went through the home. Numerous people in handcuffs were taken out to a large van outside and a police dog was seen going in and out of the building.
All but one of those arrested was released on personal recognizance bail. The one exception was Maxwell McGuiness, who was allegedly intoxicated and uncooperative during the booking process and was taken to the Strafford County jail, Kelley said.
UNH said the students facing felony charges, such as for allegedly selling drugs, have been suspended pending the outcome of their cases.
Those arrested and their charges are:
- Steven Alabiso, 19, of Salem, for conspiracy to distribute drugs.
- Luke J. Archer, 20, Lexington, Mass., for possession of a controlled drug.
- Gregory R. Dupree, 21, of Lexington, Mass., for disorderly conduct.
- David E. Fitzpatrick, 20, of Reading, Mass., for sale of a controlled drug.
- Andrew J. Fortini, 21, of Sandown, for sale of a controlled drug.
- Lawrence A. MacLeod III, 21, of Lebanon, for possession of a controlled drug.
- Maxwell McGuiness, 21, of Lebanon, for sale of a controlled drug.
- Quinn Pham, 20, of Salem, for possession of a controlled drug.
- Graydon Rickert, 19, of Hatfield, Mass., for prohibited sales of alcohol.
- Brian D. Shea, 19, of Windham, for sale of a controlled drug, possession with intent to sell controlled drugs and possession of a false ID.
- Jonathan Travers, 21, of Atkinson, for disorderly conduct.
Police said Pham and Shea were arrested at the residence on Garrison Avenue. All of those arrested are scheduled to be arraigned in December in Dover District Court.
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