Judge ‘went from disbelief to… disgust’ over Springboro teen drug case

A Springboro boy on Wednesday was returned to the Warren County Detention Center for 30 more days, ordered to complete an in-patient treatment program and placed on probation for drug charges stemming from a case also involving his mother, a teacher in the Springboro schools.

The boy was led out of the courtroom to begin his detention. He was given credit for 15 days already served.

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Judge Joe Kirby also fined the boy $250 and ordered him to remain on probation, possibly until he turns 21.

He warned the boy he would be sent to state juvenile detention system if he failed to complete the terms of his suspended sentence. The in-patient program typically takes four to six months to complete, but can take longer, according to court officials.

“During the life of this case, I went from disbelief to disappointment to just utter disgust,” Kirby said, emphasizing the fact that the drugs came from a local resident, rather than a drug dealer from out of town or part of a drug cartel.

“We had one of our very own, a 15-year-old that quite frankly should have been brought up to know better,” the judge added, noting the parent was a respected local teacher.

The judge also noted the home in the Settler’s Walk community was known as the community’s “party house” among local high-school students.

Under questioning from the judge, the boy acknowledged another boy, an honor student about to graduate, committed suicide after being charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after leaving the party house.

“That right there is every parent’s biggest fear come true,” Kirby said.

Prior to sentencing, the teen pleaded no contest to the charges against him, and Kirby found him delinquent.

The case stems from car stops in the Setttler’s Walk neighborhood where they lived, culminating in a raid on their home in May by the Warren County Drug Task Force.

The boy, 16, was accused of trafficking in LSD to 15 to 20 Springboro High School students, as well as possession of the hallucinogenic and marijuana.

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His mother, teacher Amy Panzeca, allegedly helped her son obtain the online currency Bitcoin used to purchase LSD. She is charged with child endangering and contributing to the unruliness of a minor.

She is on leave from her job.

During the sentencing, the boy’s lawyer, Kevin Hughes, asked Kirby to delay the boy’s incarceration until after the holidays, so he could spend time with a dying grandfather.

“It starts now,” Kirby replied, directing the boy to be taken into custody.

Afterward, Hughes, said they were considering filing an appeal.

In her case, Amy Panzeca is pressing for the identity of a confidential informant and seeking suppression of statements to police.

She is free on her own recognizance, but barred from regular contact with her son.

She is scheduled to return to court on Dec. 21.

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