Teen admits to drug offenses in $3M drug ring

Teen admits to drug offenses in $3M drug ring

The 17-year-old student who allegedly earned $20,000 a month selling marijuana to fellow students from Mason and Kings high schools admitted to two counts of drug trafficking Tuesday in Warren County Juvenile Court.

The teen, wearing glasses, a light blue dress shirt, khaki pants and a matching tie was flanked by his parents at the brief arraignment before Juvenile Court Judge Michael Powell. As the judge asked him how he pleaded to each of two drug trafficking charges — for selling marijuana to an undercover officer and the second that he prepared marijuana for delivery or sale — he rose and respectfully said, “I admit.”

Powell informed the youth he has several options when he sentences him on Sept. 18: he could send him to the state youth prison system for six months or up until he turns 21; 90 days in jail for each offense; the Mary Haven youth center, or possibly house arrest.

“It’s not everything I can do, but it gives you an idea of the types of things I might consider in a case such as this,” Powell said. “By admitting to the charge you give me the authority to impose those kinds of dispositional orders.”

While a pre-sentence investigation is formulated, the teen will be on house arrest and subject to random drug testing. Prosecutor David Fornshell said the teen displayed proper remorse for his actions and the teen and his lawyer Mike O’Neill have cooperated with the investigation for the past six months. He agreed this was an atypical case.

“The level of marijuana that was being sold was significant, this was a very highly intelligent young man… He was very misguided in what he was putting his efforts toward,” he said. “It’s certainly our hope he gets any type of treatments he might need and that whatever punishment the court levies will put him on the right path and that ultimately somebody like this, who is this intelligent will use those efforts to benefit society as opposed to causing harm.”

Fornshell said no other teens have been charged in this case “as of yet” and he won’t comment further on that subject. The teen, his parents and attorney left the court without comment. The teen, who did not sell pot on the Mason High School campus, will be a senior this year.

Last week Magistrate Andrew Hasselbach set bonds for all but one of the seven adult defendants in the $3 million pot-growing-and-selling ring.

Michael Lopez, 28, of Cincinnati, had not been apprehended yet at the time of the arraignment. He is currently in the Warren County Jail, after his arrest on July 26. Most of the bonds were set at $25,000, except for Cody Lampe whose bond was set at $50,000. The 31-year-old from Cincinnati faces the most charges with 10 counts of engaging in corrupt activity and a host of drug related charges. Gerald Peele, 20, of Mason received a $15,000 bond. All of the adults, except Lopez, are free on bond.

Peele will go to trial first in Judge Robert Peeler’s court on Sept. 27. All of the others have trial dates in early October. At this point it appears Cody and Stacy Lampe will be tried together, as will Allen Honeycutt and William Sparks. Butler County resident Justin Baker is scheduled for trial Oct. 8.

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