Radford 'War on Drugs' professor facing drug charges

A Radford University assistant professor of criminal justice who teaches a "War on Drugs" seminar is facing four drug possession charges.

Taj Mahon-Haft was indicted Friday on three counts of possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance and one count of possession of marijuana. Radford police Lt. Andy Wilburn said Mahon-Haft turned himself in and was arrested on Monday.

According to a search warrant filed in Radford Circuit Court, on Dec. 22, an officer responded to a residence in the 2000 block of Third Street after a neighbor reported an open side door.

After the officer announced his presence and did not receive a response, he entered the house in order to check on any potential burglary suspects, the warrant states.

He went into a room upstairs and observed a green leafy plant-like material, a multicolored smoking device, a mirror, a rolled up dollar bill, a razor and a white powdery substance in a line, "as in preparation for consumption," according to the warrant.

The officer did not make contact with any suspect and left the residence to apply for the search warrant. Another officer stayed at the location, according to the warrant.

According to Mahon-Haft's case file, he is charged, through direct indictments, with possessing Pentedrone, Alpha-pyrrolidinovalerophenone (alpha-PVP), 4-Fluoroamphetamine (4-FA) and marijuana. Those drugs are on Virginia's list of regulated synthetic drugs, often marketed as bath salts and other names.

Mahon-Haft was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, according to the file.

On a Radford University website page, Mahon-Haft states that his "research and activist efforts are focused on drugs & drug policy, race/ethnicity, media, and research methodology."

His is currently teaching three introduction to criminal justice courses and the seminar, according to university information. Neither Mahon-Haft nor the criminal justice department head could be immediately reached today.

Mahon-Haft has been with the university since 2011, according to website. He received at bachelor of science from Virginia Tech and a masters and Ph.D. from Washington State University, according to online information.

At Washington State, according to online information, Mahon-Haft did a "grounded theory-based study on the meaning of and reaction to 'inappropriate bar behavior' by bar employees in two college town bars."

Posted to: News Virginia

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