Former Wesleyan football player to avoid prison in drug case

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BRIDGEPORT — A former Wesleyan University football player avoided prison time, despite a conviction on charges he provided drugs to fellow members of the team.

Ryan Welch of Salem, Massachusetts pleaded guilty in March to possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled substance. He was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Bridgeport.

U.S. District Judge Victor A. Bolden sentenced Welch to three years of probation, the first six months of which Welch must spend in home confinement. Judge Bolden also ordered Welch to perform 200 hours of community service.

Prosecutors say Welch last year provided up to 20 teammates with a hallucinogenic concoction that became known as “Welchie’s Special,” which was often mixed into a sports drink.

The federal investigation began last October, when emergency crews responded to a student at a dormitory who went into convulsions and had to be hospitalized after taking the drugs.