University police arrested two men on various drug charges Aug. 27 after serving a warrant to search an apartment at the Treehouse.
David Azaria, a student at Santa Monica College, was arrested and booked on charges of possession of marijuana for sale and Dylan Shaver, a UCLA student, for the cultivation of marijuana.
Officers recovered marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription pills from Azaria and Shaver’s apartment unit at 10919 Strathmore Drive.
Azaria was already on probation for a previous arrest on 2009, involving possession of marijuana.
UCPD has arrested him a total of five times for drug-related offenses in the last two years, said Detective Ethan Shear, who investigates most of UCPD’s narcotic cases.
In a plea deal with Azaria, the court dropped his latest set of charges in exchange for a guilty plea to the 2009 charges.
By Aug. 31, Azaria was sentenced to three years at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
Shaver posted bail and awaits trial in October.
The case began as a theft investigation Aug. 8, when UCPD patrol officers stopped Azaria and found ecstasy pills, cash and cell phones in a search of his person, Shear said.
He was arrested and the report continued on to the investigation unit.
Shear said UCPD generally doesn’t arrest for violation of probation.
“We arrest for the crime at hand, and after the fact (the court) violates the probation,” he said.
However, probation does give detectives additional tools to aid in their investigations, he said.
Since Azaria was on searchable probation for a narcotic-related offense, officers had the right to search him without necessarily having probable cause, Shear said.
Although Azaria soon bonded out, the investigation against him continued.
On the evening of Aug. 27, police set up surveillance around Azaria and Shaver’s apartment.
Azaria was arrested first on a pedestrian stop, then the search warrant was served.
Shaver was arrested from the apartment.
Shaver said some people may write Azaria off because he was a drug dealer.
“He had to sell weed just to live out here,” he said.
Shaver said he has known Azaria since he was 12 years old.
“People hear, “˜Oh, he’s just a drug dealer,’ Shaver said. “But he was a better person than that.”
Azaria has lived in various places in Westwood for the past several years, and when Azaria was in trouble, he stayed at Shaver’s parents’ house.
Shaver also described Azaria as a student at Santa Monica College in his second year studying anthropology.
He also played center on the college basketball team.
“He had a lot of things going for him,” Shaver said.
“He wasn’t just doing nothing with his life. He had plenty of people who loved him.”
At Azaria’s sentencing trial, Shaver said there must have been at least 20 of Azaria’s friends in attendance.
“It was one of the saddest things of my life,” he said.