While the bulk of drug use and distribution that happens on college campuses is done by students and visitors to the school, faculty can sometimes play a role as well. Whether using, selling, or both, many professors have gotten caught up in illegal activities that have played a significant role in ending their academic careers and landing them some serious jail time. Here, we’ve featured just 10 professors who ended up on the wrong side of the law for manufacturing, using, and selling drugs on campus or in their communities.
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Professors Irina Kristy has been all over the news lately for her involvement in drug scandal. Kristy has been teaching math at Boston University and Suffolk University since the mid-eighties, but what her students didn’t know about her was that in recent years she was also manufacturing and selling methamphetamines with her son out of their home. Though quite old to be dealing drugs at 74, legal experts say that isn’t likely to help the senior and that she’ll likely live out the rest of her life in jail. A sad end for a woman who spent years fighting the oppressive Soviet regime before moving to the US with her son to escape the KGB. There is no word yet as to why Kristy was selling drugs.
The secret drug-dealing, gang-leading life of Stephen Kinzey sounds like something out of a movie script. A kinesiology professor at Cal State San Bernardino, Kinzey had taught at the school for over a decade without anyone knowing anything about his other, much darker side. Kinzey wasn’t just making money as a professor, he was also a leader of a local Devils Diciples motorcycle gang and was running a meth ring with his live-in girlfriend. Kinzey was a favorite professor of students, a devoted father, and seemed to be on the straight and narrow, but looks can be deceiving. He is now charged with drug dealing, running a street gang, and possessing illegal firearms.
Drug dealing ended the career of CU-Boulder sociology professor, Margaret Zamudio. In 2000, Zamudio was arrested for suspicion of selling cocaine after she was caught in possession of illegal substances. She alleged that she had been given the drugs at a faculty party, but police found no evidence of this, but due to witness reliability issues and admissibility of evidence, Zamudio was allowed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Ironic, as one of her areas of study was drug policy. It may have been Zamudio’s drug addiction, however, more than her selling that led to her dismissal from the school, though she sued the university over her dismissal, claiming it was on grounds of race. Sadly, Zamudio’s drug use, in this case alcohol, led to her death in 2010, after she fell while drunk and hit her head.
A PhD candidate and history professor at Loyola wouldn’t be your first guess for a marijuana grower and distributor, but that’s just what this Chicago-area academic found himself in hot water over after a bust by the DEA found him to be part of a small growing operation in the suburb of Berwyn. Police found 52 plants, $10,000 in cash, and 15 pounds of marijuana in Kralj’s residence, surprising to many of his students and coworkers. A husband, father, and fairly well-known musician, it’s unclear what motivation Kralj had to take such a risk, but he may soon be facing jail time for the offense.
If there’s ever been a professor that is the essence of the term “train wreck,” it might just be Philip Alan Barker. Barker taught psychiatry at the University of Calgary and worked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital throughout the eighties and nineties, and was at the time was doing well as an author and child psychiatrist. Unfortunately, Barker also had a serious drug problem and was in and out of rehab for almost a decade and faced serious charges ranging from drug use, to DWI, to being caught with an underage prostitute. In 2000, he was arrested for selling narcotics (crack cocaine) to an undercover police officer. Barker’s life has spiraled downward since then, as he is no longer allowed to practice medicine, he has gone bankrupt and has been accused of a long list (which you can read here) of offenses.
Perhaps to protect his privacy, no first name is given to this drug-dealing professor in any documentation we can find online, though perhaps foreign language records exist on the matter. Cha, a professor at a prestigious Korean university, was caught making and selling illegal drugs. In a real life Breaking Bad turn, this well-regarded chemistry professor had every chemical he needed to manufacture designer drugs on hand, which he then sold over the internet. Cha, who wasn’t especially well-paid as a visiting professor, said he needed the money to help his girlfriend pay for her college tuition.
In 2008, Villanova chemical engineering professor Edward Ritter was busted for selling marijuana to undercover police officers. The 48-year-old professor allegedly sold drugs to the cops on two occasions and was found to have 18 bags of marijuana in his home. The arrest shocked students and associates alike, who couldn’t believe the Catholic university professor would be involved in selling drugs.
Generally, selling drugs doesn’t just mean jail time, it also means an end to a career as a professor. Paul Prosperino learned that the hard way after he was found to have thousands of prescription pills in his home which he was selling, as well as illegal firearms. A former professor of computer science and economics, Prosperino hoped to use his drug money to help out family members, but now faces up to 10 years in prison for his crimes.
Cancer researcher and professor of pharmacology at the University of Tennessee, Asura has a lot of knowledge about how drugs affect the body. That’s why, when he was busted in 2008 for selling meth, part of his punishment was to write an essay on the dangers of methamphetamine use. Before his criminal activities were revealed, Asura was a highly regarded professor and researcher, but as he spiraled into drug addiction and peddling he developed a violent and unpredictable alter ego known on the streets as “The Professor.” Today, Asura is serving a three year sentence for his wrongdoings.
Unlike the other professors that populate this list, Clark Freshman, a professor of law at UC Hastings, wasn’t actually selling any kind of drugs. That didn’t stop police from raiding his penthouse apartment earlier this year and placing Freshman in handcuffs, however. An expert in mediation and law, a furious Freshman tried to resolve the situation and informed police that their search was illegal, to no avail. Fortunately for Freshman, he was correct and he is currently suing the DEA and SFPD for unlawful search and seizure. The problem? The police had a warrant to search the building (they believed someone in the building was growing marijuana, which they were, but it wasn’t Freshman), but failed to distinguish between units.
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