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New details on investigation and arrests at ETSU's Buc Ridge Apartments

By Karissa Manis, Producer, kmanis@wcyb.com
Published On: Apr 28 2013 05:15:40 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 28 2013 08:07:27 PM CDT
BUC RIDGE EVACUATED
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

Campus police raid an apartment Saturday night at East Tennessee State University and end up calling in the FBI.

We have new information for you Sunday about the investigation and arrests at ETSU's Buc Ridge Apartments.

Four ETSU students are facing charges after an entire apartment building was evacuated. The FBI, officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Johnson City Bomb Squad, and multiple police agencies were called in to help.

A scary situation Saturday night for students at Buccaneer Ridge Apartments. "Around 10:30 is when I was awakened by two police officers walking into my room asking me if I had any kind of drugs or guns or knives in my room," said student Eric Altenhof.

"I guess they had a key to everybody's room. They just all of a sudden walked in and told everybody they need to leave. They need to evacuate," said student Danessa Boyd.

It all started Friday evening when Elias Rasmussen was arrested for possession of marijuana. ETSU spokesperson, Joe Smith, says things escalated after Rasmussen made bond from a previous arrest, "Public Safety escorted him back to his residence to gather his things. Upon arrival there at that residence, they encountered two other students who were there, who were also in possession of marijuana. It was in their investigation with those two students, they went to another student's residence and it was there that they found those suspicious items."

The suspicious items include clear crystal pellets, propane canisters, assorted powders, vermiculite -- a fertilizer, an unknown liquid, and a non-active pressure cooker found in the trunk of a car.

"We were concerned about these items, when they were found we evacuated the building where these items were found, it was Building B," added Smith.

Smith says there was no immediate danger, that's why a Gold Alert email was not sent out.

Residents say they were out of their apartments almost all night as police investigated.

Officials are assuring, students are not in any danger but they do say if you see anything suspicious to contact police. They say public safety is available 24-hours a day.

Four students are facing charges: Elias Rasmussen is charged with possession of drugs for resale, maintaining a dwelling where drugs are sold, and carrying a weapon on school property.

Wesley Miracle is charged with possession of drugs for resale and having drug paraphernalia.

Brandon Buchanan is being charged with simple drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rishi Malhotra is charged with simple drug possession and having drug paraphernalia. According to ETSU Police the suspicious items, including fertilizer and a pressure cooker, were found in Malhotra's apartment and car. We're told he will be under surveillance by the FBI and ATF for any suspicious activity.

All four suspects are out of jail on bond, we're told an investigation is underway by ETSU and the four students are not allowed back on campus during the disciplinary review.