ITHACA, N.Y. — A former Cornell student is facing charges after police found a backpack with suspicious chemicals in it at a north campus residence hall earlier this year.

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Sean Lee, a former Cornell student and current resident of New York City, was arraigned at Ithaca City Court Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of second-degree reckless endangerment and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said in a news release. 

Officials said they responded to a report of the backpack around 7:30 a.m. Jan. 20 at Risley Hall on 535 Thurston Ave. on Cornell University campus. Lee, 19, turned himself in to officers around 5 p.m. that day.

Police suspected that the chemicals in the bag were being used to make methamphetamine.

During the investigation, officials determined that Lee was making dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT, which is a schedule I hallucinogenic substance.

Cornell police said in a news release, “The 10 months that transpired between finding the substance and the charges being filed was due to the time required to properly process and test all of the evidence so that the appropriate charges could be filed with the court.”

Officials said Lee was released on his own recognizance and will appear in court again in December.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.