Travis Roesler may have been educated in the Ivy League but he made a career out of weed, police said yesterday.
Roesler, 27, a former football player for the University of Pennsylvania, a mixed martial artist and Wharton School grad, was arrested Wednesday night after police raided his University City apartment - which doubled as his martial-arts studio - and allegedly found $1.2 million worth of high-grade marijuana.
Narcotics South Capt. James Kelly said Roesler is part of a growing number of college-educated youth and collegians who have been caught growing pot.He said Roesler's case was the sixth such one that his squad has handled this year.
Kelly said Roesler's operation was "extensive and intricate" and included 131 plants and nine pounds of cultivated and packaged pot.
"Young, educated kids are taking their intelligence and education and putting it to use," Kelly said.
"No dummy could have set this up. It was a smart person using his intelligence for the wrong ends."
After receiving information and investigating, police served a search warrant on Roesler's apartment, on Spruce Street near 42nd, about 7 p.m.
Kelly said they found the main growing operation in an 8-by-10-foot room of the second-floor apartment. A smaller growing area was in a walk-in closet, he said.
Roesler employed "state-of-the-art" generators, heat lamps and air-filtration systems to grow his hydroponic or "designer" marijuana, police said.
The air-filtration system prevented the smell of the pot from traveling to the first level, which Roesler had converted into Babylon Studios, his mixed-martial- arts training center, Kelly said.
Roesler, who, according to his Facebook page, graduated from Penn in 2006 with degrees in management and nutrition, was once prominent in the local mixed-martial-arts (MMA) scene.
In a 2006 posting on Full Contact Fighter Blog, Roesler was described as a "one badass dude" and "the master of devastating body blows."
A recent City Paper article on the local MMA scene referred to him as a "former pro fighter" who now trains others.
Kelly said that after being arrested, Roesler told police that he was due to be on an episode of MTV's "Bully Beatdown," on which bullies take on mixed martial artists for a chance to win $10,000.
"He's supposed to be pretty accomplished in that field," Kelly said.
"He was open about his status in that field, but not about anything else."
Roesler did not resist arrest when cops showed up to his apartment, Kelly said. Court records showed that as of yesterday he was being held on $300,000 bail.
Police said that Roesler may have been selling to college students and that his operation was so established, it could have been going on for a couple of years.
Roesler also had hallucinogenic mushrooms and cash in his apartment, police said.
He was charged with manufacturing, possessing and delivering marijuana, and risking a catastrophe and recklessly endangering another person for the health and safety dangers the operation caused, Kelly said.
Calls to Roesler's cell phone were sent to his voice mail yesterday.
His message says that callers can leave a message but that they "immediately become less cool than if you didn't leave a message after the tone."