December 27, 2012

Three Cape Elizabeth students arrested for selling pot cookies

Police began investigating possible drug sales at the school after some of the students fell ill, and the suspects now face felony trafficking charges.

By Ann S. Kim
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH — Three Cape Elizabeth High School students have been arrested on charges of selling marijuana-laced cookies on school grounds earlier this month.

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In this March 2008 file photo, a police cruiser sits in front of Cape Elizabeth High School. Police are investigating a Friday, Dec. 10, 2012 marijuana-cookie incident that led to the suspension of nine Cape Elizabeth High School students.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

Each of the juvenile boys is charged with aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, said Cape Elizabeth police. One of the boys is 15 years old and the other two are 17. They have been released to the custody of their parents.

Aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs is a felony that carries maximum penalties of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The charge is aggravated because the alleged crime occurred at school, said police Capt. Brent Sinclair.

Police don't know how many cookies the boys sold, said Sinclair, who would not say how much money they collected or who is suspected of making the cookies.

Police charged eight other teenagers -- Samuel Sherman, 18, and seven juvenile boys -- with possession of marijuana. Four of the juveniles are 16 years old and three are 15.

The formal filing of any charges is left to prosecutors. The Cumberland County District Attorney's Office had not filed any charges as of Wednesday.

Probation officers will review the juveniles' cases, as is standard practice, said Tamara Getchell, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office.

The probation officers could opt against prosecution and choose a type of rehabilitation, she said. Their decisions generally stand.

Police began investigating possible drug sales at the high school on Dec. 7, after being alerted by school officials. Sinclair said some students went to the school nurse because they felt ill after eating the cookies. He said he did not know what their symptoms were.

The arrests were made and court summonses were issued last week. The juveniles were summoned to appear in court Feb. 14.

Sherman is scheduled to appear in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court on Feb. 12. His father is Town Councilor David Sherman Jr., who declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Police do not expect to charge anyone beyond the 11 who were charged last week, Sinclair said.

Nine students initially were suspended from school in the incident. It wasn't clear Wednesday whether two others who have since been charged were suspended.

School district policy calls for a student who distributes or sells drugs to be suspended for 10 days and face expulsion. Expulsion requires a hearing before the School Board.

Superintendent Meredith Nadeau said Thursday that a decision has been made about whether to pursue expulsion for the three students. But she said she could not provide additional detail other than to say that the fact that a hearing was taking place would be public information.

No hearings have been scheduled, said School Board Chairman John Christie II.

"We will know when it's scheduled, but we won't know anything about the facts of the case until the hearing itself," he said.

Christie said expulsions are "pretty rare" in the district.

In 2010, a student was expelled from Cape Elizabeth High School for selling a marijuana brownie to a classmate. The student who bought the brownie went to the emergency room.

The school district's penalty for first-time drug possession is a two-day suspension and a visit to a substance abuse counselor.

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

Twitter: AnnKimPPH


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