Business Student Charged With Drug-Related Felonies

A Goizueta Business School junior is facing three drug-related felonies after Emory Police Department (EPD) found illegal drugs, drug-related objects and cash in his room.

EPD executed a search warrant in John McGourty’s (19B) room at 20 Eagle Row, the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, the morning of Nov. 9. Detectives found and seized illegal drugs, controlled substances, small plastic bags, a scale, $2,800 in cash, a safe, and other drug-related objects at the scene. EPD arrested and transported McGourty to DeKalb County Jail the same day.

The student was allegedly intending to distribute oxycodone, marijuana and Vyvanse, a derivative of amphetamines commonly used to treat ADHD, according to EPD.

McGourty has been charged with two counts of possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance with intent to distribute; one count of manufacture of marijuana; and one count of possession and use of drug-related objects.

One count of unlawful possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance is a felony is punishable by one to 15 years of imprisonment depending on the quantity of the substance, according to OCGA 16-13-30. Manufacture of marijuana is a felony that is punishable by at least one to 10 years, according to OCGA 16-13-30. Possession and use of drug-related objects is a misdemeanor under OCGA 16-13-32.2. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by a fine and incarcerations of up to one year.

The student’s bail was set at $5,720, according to DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Bond Division. McGourty bonded out and was released Nov. 11.

McGourty has been suspended as a brother of Kappa Sigma pending the ongoing investigation, according to Kappa Sigma Vice President Brook Peters (19C). He did not respond to request for comment.

“Emory University is aware of the investigation and is cooperating with law enforcement in this process,” Campus Life Senior Director for Communications Tomika DePriest wrote in a Nov. 13 email to the Wheel. “We are committed to providing a safe and healthy residential environment for our students.”

DePriest declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation, citing student privacy.

Officers obtained the search warrant from a judge in the Magistrate Court of DeKalb County Georgia Nov. 8 after EPD received information that led them to believe an Emory student possessed and sold drugs. EPD Sgt. Randall Terry had met with a University official regarding a Nov. 7 information report. EPD declined to release the information report or provide further details to the Wheel.

This is the first student arrest and direct transport to jail by EPD this semester, according to Sgt. John Harper. At Emory, a misdemeanor marijuana charge , marijuana less than an ounce, is the most common drug charge EPD sees and the only drug charge that allows a cite and release. Because of this, most in drug charge cases on campus students are released on a citation, Harper said. However, the severity of McGourty’s case, particularly his involvement with drugs other than less than an ounce of marijuana, justified an immediate transport, Harper said.

McGourty’s preliminary hearing with the DeKalb Magistrate Court took place Nov. 10. A preliminary hearing is required to take place 72 hours after an arrest and to determine if there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crimes alleged in the warrant(s) that were issued against the defendant. If there is probable cause, the case is passed to the Superior Court.

McGourty’s case has been sent to the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office, which will create a file of his charges and schedule an arraignment to be brought in Superior Court within the coming weeks or months, according to the DeKalb Magistrate Court Criminal Division. No future court dates have been set, according to the DeKalb Magistrate Court Criminal Division.

McGourty did not respond to request for comment.

Correction (11/14/17 at 11:39 p.m.): The article previous stated that McGourty is the head of philanthropy at Kappa Sigma. He no longer holds that position, according to Kappa Sigma Vice President Brook Peters (19C).

Correction (11/15/17 at 11:07 a.m.): The article has been updated to specify the procedure for a citation and release on a drug charge made by EPD.

Correction (11/15/17 at 8:04 p.m.): A sentence stating that McGourty did not respond to the Wheel’s request to comment was accidentally removed at 11:39 p.m. It was re-added to the article at 8:04 p.m.