Ohio police have arrested a 17-year-old accused of running a multimillion-dollar drug ring distributing high-grade hydroponically cultivated marijuana through two school districts.
According to AP, the Warren County Drug Task Force said the drug ring operated in two Cincinnati-area schools. AP reports the boys were careful not to do business on school grounds where it would be riskier. Country Prosecutor David Fornshell, said: "There were strict orders not to sell at (the school) because you would get caught and the punishment would be severe."
According to police, the boy had been dealing in marijuana since he was 15.
ABC News reports police officers raided the boy's bedroom at his parents' home where they found over $6,000 in cash.
Authorities have not released the name of the boy because he was a 16-year-old minor at the time he committed the alleged offenses.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell, said the boy will be tried as a juvenile.
According to ABC News, the police first became aware of the "high-grade hydroponic" strain of marijuana being sold in the Mason school district last year. Police say the marijuana previously sold in the area was a low-grade variety smuggled through the border. But the new marijuana the police began seeing was of a much higher quality and was more expensive, at $350-$450 an ounce.
An undercover agent began investigating the source of the marijuana, making purchases at the Mason High School where the 16-year-old was a student. He soon traced the marijuana to the boy and he was arrested.
According to Fornshell, "The undercover officer uncovered six students or former students working for that individual and trafficking drugs in two school districts. The group supplied an overwhelming amount of marijuana in the Mason and King school districts."
The Inquistr reports that Fornshell said the teen looked like a kid "who’d be in a church youth group or honor program. He clearly had a high level of intelligence, but it was very misguided.”
According to Drug Task Force Commander John Burke, the boy was "selling to six other people who were kind of like his lieutenants. Then they were distributing the drugs to other high school students.”
AP reports that after the boy and his lieutenants were arrested, they helped the police trace the marijuana to a major operation run by three individuals who were growing it from three houses and a furniture warehouse in Norwood and Hamilton. Six adults were arrested in connection with the operation.
According to ABC News, the authorities seized 600 plants with an estimated street value of $3 million from the three production plants.
The adults arrested range in age from 20 to 58. Burke, commenting on the case, said: "This is a unique situation where we've been able to start at one level and move up the ladder to the source. The case is made even more egregious because it involved juveniles."
The suspects were indicted by a grand jury on Friday. They will face multiple charges including possession, cultivation and trafficking marijuana.