A 15 year-old South Portland High School student has been charged with five felony counts of aggravated furnishing of prescription drugs.

Police have confirmed that the student was one of six hospitalized in mid-January after ingesting drugs thought to be stolen from a home in Cape Elizabeth.

The boy will be charged as a juvenile for the class C crimes, the lowest class of felony.

Officer Jeffrey Caldwell, the selective enforcement officer for the South Portland police, said the drug allegedly furnished by the teen has been identified as Klonopin, which is used to treat seizures and panic disorders.

Though he couldn’t provide details about past offenses, Caldwell said the boy has a history with the South Portland police. “He’s been through the system before,” said Caldwell.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Thibeault said the boy does not have a felony history, but she could not say if there was a history of misdemeanor charges. She did say that any past history, felony or misdemeanor, would ultimately be a factor in the final ruling.

The Current’s policy prohibits naming juveniles charged in criminal cases except for those juveniles charged with the most serious felonies.

Ned Chester, the boy’s lawyer, said the boy would deny the charges at his arraignment, which is scheduled for May 22 at the Cumberland County Courthouse.

If the boy is found guilty, the maximum penalty for these charges is commitment to Long Creek Youth Development Center until 21 years of age. Thibeault said that penalty is unlikely where there are no prior felony convictions. Other possible penalties are community service, probation and counseling.

Cape Elizabeth Police Det. Paul Fenton said he could not confirm a suspect’s name, but he said he placed a South Portland juvenile male in the Cape Elizabeth home where the drugs were stolen. “I had a strong juvenile suspect that took drugs without the owners’ consent,” said Fenton.

Fenton said he asked the district attorney to prosecute for theft charges. The district attorney has not brought theft charges at this time.

The Cape Elizabeth police department received a complaint about stolen prescription drugs from the Spurwink Avenue area Jan. 17 at about 5:30 p.m. Police said at the time the home was not broken into.

Cape Police Chief Neil Williams said it now appears that some South Portland teens were hanging out with their friends in Cape Elizabeth around that same time. Police have surmised that the students, all 14 to 17 year-old males were at a friend’s home in South Portland when they took the pills.

By 6:30 p.m., officers in South Portland had received two calls almost simultaneously from people reporting similar symptoms. One mother could not wake her son and the other described her son as glassy eyed and incoherent.

Police said they realized the calls might be related and questioned the teens once their conditions stabilized. They admitted to taking pills and gave the police the names of six other kids who also had taken the drugs.

Police called those kids at their homes. Three more were transported to local hospitals by ambulance and a family member brought one boy in. Two did not need to be taken to the hospital.


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