A 17-year-old high school student charged with running a $20,000-a-month operation selling high-grade marijuana to teens in the Mason and Kings schools appeared in juvenile court today.
The teen admitted to two charges of drug trafficking in a 4 p.m. arraignment.
The teen was selling the pot as part of a larger drug ring, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said July 16. The ring involved the Mason High School student and seven adults, including two Butler County men.
Raids were made on three marijuana-growing facilities in Hamilton, Blue Ash and Norwood, and 600 plants valued at more than $3 million were seized, officials of the Warren County Drug Task Force announced.
Officials said the teen led authorities to the three “grow houses,” where marijuana was being grown hydroponically — in water containing minerals rather than in soil. They believe the teen had six current and former students from Mason High School working for him for the last couple of years, making drug deals with users who were mostly Mason and Kings students. Both schools are in southern Warren County.
“The juvenile dealer was adamant about not dealing on school property. There were strict orders not to sell at Mason High School because (of fear the dealers) would get caught and the punishment would be severe,” Fornshell said.
At the time of his arrest, more than $6,000 in cash was found in his bedroom.
An undercover agent set up pot buys from dealers in the teen’s organization, authorities said. The undercover buys led authorities to the teen, who led them to his alleged supplier and the suspected growers.
Mason City School Superintendent Gail Kist-Kline said that Mason officials routinely conduct surprise drug sweeps and provides programs on drug use and abuse for students as well as employing a school resource office.