Four Students Among Seven Arrested on Cocaine Charges

Seven people, four of them UNC students, have been arrested this semester on various charges involving cocaine.

The arrests all stem from an incident on the night of Sept. 15 at an apartment at 211 Church St., where police reported finding 197.6 grams of cocaine. The police said they initially received a tip and responded to it.

“I am not sure when this thing initially began,” said Lt. Kevin Gunter, the public information officer for the Chapel Hill Police Department, of the investigation. “The initial information they received led them to the arrests that night.”

“I think this is just a matter of where our investigation led,” said Sgt. Jabe Hunter, who oversees the department’s narcotics division. “It’s not part of any beefed-up [enforcement]. We follow up on a lot of drug information here. Sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

According to the arrest report, Eliza McQuail Vaughan, 21, lived at the Church Street address. Vaughan faces three felony cocaine charges, which include trafficking, possession with the intent to sell and distribute, and maintaining a dwelling for narcotics activity. Vaughan is a current student, according to the arrest report. Her bail was set at $10,000.

Jonathan Ray Plymale ’09, 22, of Greensboro faces the same three felony charges. Three other individuals each face a felony cocaine possession charge. Hugh Graham Jones ’09, 22, of Chapel Hill was charged with possessing 1.2 grams of cocaine.

Benjamin Thomas Nash ’06, 24, of Elizabeth City was charged with possessing 0.4 grams of cocaine. Nash also was charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. He possessed four grams of marijuana, according to the arrest report.

On Sept. 23, Nash also was charged with conspiring to traffic cocaine, another felony.

Julianne Kornegay Howard, 19, of Chapel Hill was charged with possessing 1.4 grams of cocaine. She is listed as a current student on the arrest report. Two more arrests were made Sept. 21, stemming from the Sept. 15 incident. Elizabeth Roberts Cogdell, a 19-year-old sophomore from Fayetteville, and Sarah Thomas Coxe, a 19-year-old freshman living in Chapel Hill, also were charged with felony cocaine possession.

Four of the seven arrested held fraternity or sorority ties at Carolina. The arrest reports list the addresses of Howard and Coxe as 313 East Franklin St., which is the address of Chi Omega house. Jenny Levering, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life, confirmed Howard, Cogdell and Coxe were members of Chi Omega at the time of their arrests.

Levering also confirmed that Plymale had been a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon during his time at the University.

Though the cocaine charges have raised concern around campus, Hunter views the Sept. 15 bust as an isolated incident.

“I don’t think that it is part of any larger trend,” he said. “I don’t see drug use on campus as an epidemic, but there are certainly drugs there. I don’t think it’s indicative of a larger problem, though.”

Gunter emphasized that the investigation is still ongoing. “I feel like this is an isolated incident,” he said, “but because this is an ongoing investigation, I don’t know.

“It’s hard to say if this is something that is much larger.”

— Chris Saunders

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