Northeastern Ph. D Student Held on Witness Intimidation Charge

A Chemistry graduate student will remain jailed as he awaits trial on charges alleging he tried to sell a large batch of ecstasy, then threatened the person who set him up.

Dennis Szymanski, 30, charged in separate indictments with conspiracy to distribute a drug and threatening to injure or kill a confidential witness, had asked that he be released while the charges pend so he could finish his Ph. D at Northeastern University. But a Magistrate Judge Timothy Hillman denied that request, calling Szymanski a potential danger to the public.

“I have found the evidence against him to be substantial, if not overwhelming,” Hillman wrote in his detention order, issued July 20.

Szymanski was arrested in April in Philadelphia after he allegedly drove there from Boston with plans to sell two kilograms of ecstasy for $36,000. But when he allegedly made the swap, he was swarmed by law enforcement and arrested.

After being released on $50,000 bail on that charge Szymanski returned to Boston. In early July, he allegedly drove from his Boston home to a library at the UMass Medical School campus in Worcester to send a threatening email to the man who cooperated with investigators to set him up.

The email was titled “You Rat Fuck,” and was sent from “ratexterminator105@yahoo.com.”

Szymanski’s attorney, Charles Rankin, previously asked he be released to the custody of his parents on the condition he only leave the house for medical treatment or to work on completing his Ph. D. Szymanski is a graduate student in Chemistry at Northeastern and is employed as a research assistant at a lab there.

The measures Szymanski took to send the message and conceal his identity showed he was a potential threat to the public, Hillman wrote.

“He took pains to attempt to hide his identity by traveling outside the area where he lives and creating false on-line persona while using a public computer terminal,” Hillman’s order said.

Along with the email, he also allegedly sent threatening messages to the informant’s girlfriend and mother on Facebook, using the alias “Kim Spence.”

“This will last for 20 years until both of you pay, you will both pay dearly for this,” one of the messages said. “REMEMBER THIS YOU WILL BOTH PAY DEARLY.”

Szymanski’s attorney, Charles Rankin, previously asked he be released to the custody of his parents on the condition he only leave the house for medical treatment or to work on completing his Ph. D. Szymanski is a graduate student in Chemistry at Northeastern and is employed as a research assistant at a lab there.

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