Teens charged with trafficking in marijuana

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Complaint originated at school - officials determine alleged transactions occurred outside schoolgrounds

By Linda Ireland

 Four teenagers – one only 13 – face charges of trafficking in marijuana.

A two-day investigation by Hodgenville Police Chief Steve Johnson led to evidence that three boys and one girl – ages 13 to 16 – were setting up marijuana buys using a social media account. Johnson believes one of the teens accessed his Facebook account by a cell phone or a school-provided laptop.

The teen is now at the Alternative School, Johnson said; however, he was not at A-School when the alleged transactions occurred.

Students are placed at A-School due to academic or behavior problems. School officials did not specify why the middle schooler had been placed in A-School. 

LaRue County High School Principal Paul Mullins said A-School students are not allowed to take their school-provided laptops home. A-School Principal Rip Collins said his students are not allowed to access Facebook from his classroom. He reiterated that none of the students were in A-School at the time of the investigation.

Collins said he received a complaint from a parent that their child had purchased marijuana from a boy at school.

Collins and other administrators determined that the transactions occurred off school property. They turned the investigation over to police. The evidence he saw indicated the Facebook conversations had taken place on weekends or after school.

“After two days, we determined none of the (actual transactions) had happened on school property,” Johnson said. “After interviewing several juveniles in LaRue County Middle School and LaRue County High School, we were put onto four students that have sold marijuana to other students.”

 “They knew if they got caught with it at school, they would get in more trouble,” Johnson added.

At least eight transactions have been confirmed and have been going on for about a year, Johnson said. “A couple were repeat customers.”

The students’ statements were presented to a court designated worker and the county attorney’s office for prosecution. The charge is a misdemeanor.

Johnson said two of the teens are related to each other. A fifth teen is under investigation for criminal facilitation. He is believed to have “hauled two of the other teens around” during the alleged transactions.

The older teen’s Facebook conversations showed he was “selling joints for $5,” Johnson said. 

There was additional conversation among the teens on Facebook about lozenges that could cause hallucinations.

“I didn’t know I was going to re-live the ‘70s,” Johnson said, referring to the hallucinogenic drugs that came into popularity in that decade.

“Parents really need to watch their kids’ Facebook accounts,” Johnson said. “If their kids are on Facebook, they need to make sure they have access (to the account).”

The teens were placed in detention but were released into their parents’ custody after a Thursday court hearing. The charges are being handled in juvenile court.