Cornell Police arrested a former student who is allegedly 
responsible for suspicious chemicals found in Risley Hall in January. (Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer)

Cornell Police arrested a former student who is allegedly responsible for suspicious chemicals found in Risley Hall in January. (Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer)

October 23, 2015

Cornell Police Make Arrest in Risley Chemical Case

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Cornell Police arrested Sean Lee — a former Cornell student — on Thursday, concluding a 10-month-long investigation into the discovery of suspicious chemicals in Risley Hall in January.

Cornell Police arrested a former student who is allegedly responsible for suspicious chemicals found in Risley Hall in January. (Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer)

Cornell Police arrested a former student who is allegedly
responsible for suspicious chemicals found in Risley Hall in January. (Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer)

Lee, who is currently a New York City resident, appeared in Ithaca City Court Wednesday and was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both class A misdemeanors, according to a University press release. Lee was released without any posted bail and his case was adjourned until December.

The investigation began on Jan. 20 when police responded to a report of a suspicious backpack —  which appeared to contain a variety of household chemicals — in the north campus residence hall. A more extensive investigation revealed that the chemicals in the backpack were commonly associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine, according to the release.

Cornell Environmental Health and Safety and the New York State Police also responded, and the contents of the backpack were confiscated by the state police, the release said. Lee came forward the same day claiming ownership of the materials.

The state’s investigative team determined that Lee was manufacturing dimethyltryptamine, also known as “DMT” and a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under NYS Public Health law.

The University attributed the lengthy leg between finding the substances and Lee’s arrest to a need to test and process all the confiscated materials so that accurate charges could be filed in court.

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