Student arrested in drug search State police scan about 50 cars outside Liberty High School

April 26, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

State police used drug dogs during school hours to scan about 50 cars outside Liberty High School in Eldersburg yesterday, arresting a juvenile after seizing 6 grams of marijuana from the glove box of his car.

The youth was charged with possession of marijuana and released to his parents, Sgt. Gary W. Cofflin said yesterday.

Another arrest is imminent, as soon as troopers find a second boy, Sergeant Cofflin said.

"We know he was in school, but he must have walked away while we were scanning the parking lot," the sergeant said.

The boy's parents have been notified, the sergeant said.

Sergeant Cofflin said two marijuana cigarettes were found in the ashtray of the second youth's vehicle.

The police dogs indicated the presence of marijuana in eight vehicles, Sergeant Cofflin said. After getting permission from parents or the student operators, the cars were searched and drugs were found in four of them, he said.

"Three of the four operators of cars in which we didn't find anything admitted having marijuana in their cars within the last week," Sergeant Cofflin said.

Troopers found marijuana residue in two other vehicles but did not charge the student operators because the amount was too small to test effectively, the sergeant said.

Robert Bastress, Liberty High principal, said school board policy requires an automatic five-day suspension.

"Before students can be reinstated, they must attend an intake hearing by a drug counselor," Mr. Bastress said.

Yesterday's drug scan was conducted in cooperation with school officials, the principal said.

"The whole purpose in using drug detection dogs on school property is to keep the schools drug free," he said.

Troopers also found pagers and cigarettes in seven of the vehicles and turned those items over to school authorities.

Pagers and smoking materials are not permitted on school property, and school officials will handle that matter administratively, Sergeant Cofflin said.

For first-time offenders, school board policy requires students found with tobacco products on school property to attend a Saturday smoking education class, Mr. Bastress said.

Having pagers at school might involve a suspension but usually results in a conference with parents, the principal said.

Liberty High was selected randomly for yesterday's scan, Sergeant Cofflin said.

"We did a scan earlier in the school year at Westminster High, and we want the students to know that we'll be doing more scans," he said. "We want the kids who use drugs to know that we're out there looking for them.

"We don't want them bringing drugs to school."

Pub Date: 4/26/96

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