Police seize drugs; research assistant arrested

by Andrew Tellijohn

University police arrested a chemistry student in Smith Hall Wednesday afternoon after seizing narcotics from his lab station.
Between 40 grams and 50 grams of the drug Ecstasy were taken from the station of 26-year-old Roman Eric Roberts, said University Police Detective Marianne Olson.
The drug’s chemical name is Methlenedioxymethamphetamine, but it is also called Adam or Love Drug. It can cause irregular heartbeat, euphoria and seizures, and has a street value of about $100 per gram.
Roberts said he was producing the drug, which is a combination stimulant and hallucinogen, for his personal use, Olson said.
“He was very adamant about saying he didn’t synthesize it for distribution,” she said. “He said he hasn’t made any for at least 10 months, but I don’t know if I believe that. It looked fairly fresh.”
Olson said students and instructors who worked with Roberts became suspicious when he ordered compounds from the chemistry stockroom that can be used to manufacture hallucinogens. She said members of the chemistry department decided to test some of the substances Roberts had created.
“The last major shipment was intercepted,” Olson said. “He was denied access (to the labs) from that point on.”
She said Roberts was arrested as he was cleaning out his lab station.
Roberts was not enrolled at the University fall quarter, but maintained access to the laboratories in Smith Hall because he was working as a research assistant. He had registered for winter quarter.
Now, instead of preparing for next quarter’s classes, Roberts is in Hennepin County jail awaiting charges of first-degree possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, he could face jail time and a fine.
Olson said Roberts was a national award-winning student. After speaking with Roberts, Olson said he told her he was worried about his career.
“He’s thinking I’ve screwed up my entire future’,” she said.
But, Olson said, Roberts did not appear remorseful.
“I think he’s upset that he doesn’t have his stuff,” she said.