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Wesleyan Football Player Pleads Guilty In Synthetic Drug Overdose Case

U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly
U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- A Wesleyan University football player pleaded guilty Tuesday to passing around a synthetic drug that nearly killed a fellow student, said Deirdre M. Daly, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.

Ryan Welch, 22, of Salem, Mass., pleaded guilty to distributing 2C-B, a psychedelic drug that first gained popularity as an Ecstasy replacement in the mid-1980s.

Daly said Welch gave the drug to 15 or 20 members of his team in 2015 at the Middletown college.

Initially, he distributed the drug in liquid form, mixing it in a water bottle with a non-alcoholic drink and later distributed it in powder form, in clear capsules, Daly said.

Welch made such a hit that some teammates referred to the 2C-B as “Welchie’s drug” or “Welchie’s special,” Daly said.

Welch also sold it to certain players for $10 a capsule.

On Halloween 2015, Wesleyan’s public safety officials responded to a call from a dorm room and found a male student there feverish, gasping for breath, and convulsing, Daly said.

The student was rushed to the hospital where he spent several days recovering from a near-fatal overdose.

Daly said the student had taken 2C-B he got from Welch.

“Too many young people believe synthetic drugs are harmless party drugs when, as this case makes abundantly clear, they are highly dangerous,” she said.

Welch was arrested in January and pleaded guilty Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden in Bridgeport to one count of possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, 2C-E (another psychedelic drug) and 2C-B.

He faces a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million when he is sentenced May 20 by Bolden.

Welch is free on $100,000 bond.

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