2 Tabor athletes face drug charges after Marion party
A noisy party early Sunday at 313 N. Cedar St. in Marion ended with partygoers fleeing and two teens becoming the 11th and 12th Tabor College athletes accused of marijuana possession in the past 6½ months.
Partygoers who had parked all along Cedar St. and as far away as in Holy Family parish’s parking lot fled after Marion police officer Aaron Slater arrived at 12:20 a.m. to investigate a neighbor’s complaint of being unable to fall asleep because of noise.
Slater did not need a drug dog he normally works with to detect the scent of marijuana coming from one of the vehicles, according to police.
After searching the vehicle, he reported finding 3.1 grams of marijuana — probably costing less than $20 — and a marijuana smoking device, described in an offense report as a homemade plastic bong.
Slater attempted to detain two suspects, but one fled and the other attempted to flee and to remove material from the vehicle, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.
One of the two was cited on the spot. The other was tracked down and cited an hour and a half later in Hillsboro.
Xavier Sullivan, 18, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and David Darrah, 19, Wichita, were accused of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia and of interfering with law enforcement.
Although interference allegations often result in suspects being booked into jail, police said neither resisted arrest, so a trip to jail was deemed unnecessary. The teens will face charges in municipal court rather than district court.
Both are listed as freshmen on Tabor’s soccer team — Sullivan as a defenseman and Darrah as a forward.
According to Slater’s offense report, the suspects were either buying or receiving drugs at the time.
The party was in a home that was sold in May to Pablo Meza, who online checks identify as a relative of Tabor football player Armando Meza-Casillas, a senior offensive lineman from Salem, Oregon.
After checking Sullivan’s vehicle parked outside Meza’s residence, Slater heard what he thought were sounds of fighting from inside the residence and requested assistance from deputy Matt Regier, who was in Hillsboro at the time.
Before Regier arrived, however, Slater radioed: “Everyone’s leaving. They’re all running.”
Asked whether they were on foot or in vehicles, Slater responded that they were in vehicles.
He could not determine whether they were leaving Marion via US-56 or 190th Rd. and said only that they drove west on Sherman St.
Around that time, dispatchers reported that Jeffrey also was enroute to assist, but Slater responded: “Everyone’s gone now.”
Slater did not pursue any of the vehicles because he had to remain with suspects he already had detained, Jeffrey said.
Marion police did contact Hillsboro police to ask for help in locating several Tabor students thought to have been involved.
Both Slater and Hillsboro officer Randy Brazil arrived at Tabor about an hour and a half after Slater’s original search.
Darrah apparently was not cited until then, after he had returned to Tabor. Information about Sullivan was radioed to Slater at the time of the initial search, but information about Darrah was not radioed to him until after officers visited campus.
Driver’s licenses and license plates from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas also were checked by officers investigating the case, but no allegations related to people from those states appear to have been filed.
Jeffrey said Monday that the case was closed and no further charges were expected.
The home involved was not searched, he said, because officers lacked probable cause to do so.
A request for comment from Tabor went unanswered. Tabor typically declines to comment on the status of students or athletes accused of violating drug laws.
Three Tabor football players were arrested Sept. 12 in Hillsboro on suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Six Tabor basketball players — half the team — were arrested April 12 in Hillsboro on similar charges.