Beta Theta Pi frat member arrested, facing felony charges

A Penn State Beta Theta Pi fraternity member has been arrested on drug charges.

According to the criminal complaint filed by State College police, a confidential informant alerted police in November that an individual named “Braxton” at the Beta Theta fraternity house was selling large amounts of marijuana in the State College area. The person was later identified as Braxton Becker, 20, of Niskayuna, N.Y.

In December, the informant contacted Becker via text messages to set up a marijuana purchase, police said. The informant was provided with $440 in cash to purchase two ounces.

The informant met with Becker at the fraternity house, turning over the suspected marijuana after the purchase. Lab analysis later tested positive for 55 grams of marijuana.

Arrangements and purchases were again made on Jan. 16 and Thursday, police said, totaling $910. Each purchase field tested positive for marijuana.

A search warrant was executed on Becker’s room at the fraternity house Thursday. Among the items found were about 220 grams of suspected marijuana, paraphernalia — including grinders and smoking devices — and more than $1,600 in cash, which included the cash used in the informant’s purchase earlier that day, according to the affidavit.

Becker, an undergrad majoring in material science and engineering, was charged with seven counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent and three counts of criminal use of communication facility, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia.

District Judge Kelley Gillette-Walker arraigned Becker Friday, setting bail at $250,000. He was unable to post bail and was incarcerated at Centre County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Becker was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, which Penn State suspended this month after the death of Timothy Piazza. The fraternity’s recognition was revoked by the university Friday.

Becker, according to since-removed information on the fraternity’s website, was the Penn State chapter’s house manager.

Penn State’s recent action revoking the recognition of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on campus has no relation to the charges against Becker, Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said Friday.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews