The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

March 14, 2013

Former student returns to face drug charges in Snyder County

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— MIDDLEBURG — A former Susquehanna University student who fled from campus public safety officers investigating him for drug possession last year was brought back to Snyder County on Monday to face felony and misdemeanor drug charges.

Joseph E. Smith, 23, of Floral Park, N.Y., was attending the Selinsgrove school on Jan. 23, 2012, when a suspicious odor prompted someone to summon campus police to his dorm room.

Smith allegedly was alone in the room when security officers arrived, and he allowed them in. He asked permission to use the bathroom and fled, court records said.

Drugs allegedly found in the room included four mason jars containing 48 grams of marijuana as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, psychedelic mushroom and prescription pills.

Charges were filed, but Smith failed to appear at a hearing in district court several months later. A warrant for his arrest was issued in November, and on Monday, Smith was returned to the county after waiving extradition from New York.

County District Attorney Michael Piecuch said Smith appeared before District Judge John Reed on Monday and was sent to the Snyder County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail on felony and misdemeanor drug and drug paraphernalia charges.

Smith posted bail Tuesday and was released to appear at a preliminary hearing next Tuesday.

“I am concerned about any defendant that flees,” said Piecuch, adding that he hopes the high bail posted by Smith will ensure his appearance at next week’s hearing.