Former Bard College at Simon's Rock student avoids jail on drug charges
PITTSFIELD -- A former Bard College at Simon's Rock student accused in 2012 of allegedly selling a variety of illegal drugs to his classmates will have his charges dismissed if he stays out of trouble for three years.
Mehran Jahedi, 20, of Newton, had his case continued without a finding of guilt Tuesday on 12 drug-related charges. Jahedi must perform 300 hours of community service, stay drug- and alcohol-free with random testing and speak to "underprivileged youth" four times a year.
The last condition, said the judge, would allow the defendant to "see how blessed you are" and allow the youths to see that they were not born into a life of drug dealing and can make better choices.
"I wouldn't be sitting here today if someone hadn't given me a second chance," District Court Judge Charles W. Groce III said during the sentencing
Jahedi appeared in the Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday with his attorney, Judith C. Knight, and pleaded to sufficient facts for a finding of guilt to 12 charges, including multiple counts of felony possession with the intent to distribute class B, C and D drugs.
On May 5, 2012, a search by campus security of Jahedi's dorm room at the Great Barrington college turned up LSD, ketamine, amphetamines, hallucinogenic mushrooms, MDMA, mescaline and marijuana, as well as packaging originating from as far away as China, Germany and Poland, police said.
Members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force took over the investigation and determined Jahedi had been dealing the drugs from his dorm room.
Investigators located more than $1,400 in cash and found receipts showing Jahedi's bank account at one point had more than $4,000 in it -- money "used to fund Jahedi's drug distribution network," police said.
Jahedi, according to his lawyer, was forthcoming with the college's dean as well as the police.
Knight said her client began at the school then known for its pervasive drug atmosphere as a 17-year-old who had lived a sheltered life.
An older student known only as "Max" -- who was never charged in the case -- introduced Jahedi to this life, she said. Jahedi helped the older student and soon found scouring the so-called darknet or deep web, a private network where connections are made only between trusted peers, to be "intellectually interesting."
She said Jahedi was "extremely bright" but also easily duped, calling him a "fall guy" for the older student, but admitted her client is "not blameless."
She argued not all the money was tied to drug dealing.
Jahedi was expelled from the college, she said, but is now attending the Boston Architectural College and making good grades.
Both she and the prosecutor said Jahedi did not have a prior record or any interaction with the criminal justice system before these charges. But Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler felt Jahedi's behavior warranted jail time.
"The defendant is a drug dealer. He was dealing a wide variety of drugs selling whatever people wanted. That's what he did," Hespeler told the court Tuesday. He asked that Jahedi serve one year of a two-year jail sentence with the rest of the jail time suspended for two years, during which time the defendant would be on probation.
Groce said it didn't matter whether the defendant was "a player or got played;" Jahedi knew "it was wrong." The judge said it appeared the defendant was involved in an "international drug dealing business" with a "scope that is staggering."
Groce told Jahedi "to whom much is given, much is expected" and pointed out that there were many others in the same position as Jahedi -- facing drug charges -- who had not been given the same chances in life that he was so fortunate to have.
In the end, the judge continued all 12 charges without a finding of guilt, meaning if Jahedi stays out of trouble for three years and abides by all the conditions, his charges will be dismissed. Jahedi was also ordered to forfeit close to $1,500, which police said was money that stemmed from drug dealing.
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