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Weber County sheriff's officials said they arrested 13 high school students Tuesday on suspicion of dealing drugs after they were caught arranging drug deals in schools they attended.
Lt. Mark Lowther said 11 of the teens went to Bonneville High School, one went to Roy High School, and the other attended Two Rivers, an alternative school.
Lowther said authorities arrested the teens, who were 16 and 17, without incident at their respective schools Tuesday morning. He said police took 11 males and two females into custody.
The investigation started earlier this year after a Bonneville High School student resource officer saw some activity that he thought might indicate drug trafficking was going on, Lowther said. That information was forwarded onto the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force to investigate.
Darin Parke, commander of the strike force, said officers conducted a total of 15 deals involving the students all arranged at various locations at the schools but only some of the final transactions, drugs for money, were concluded at the campus. However, Parke said more transactions likely had been taking place that didn't involve the strike force.
"We're confident they were selling to other students," he said.
Authorities allege the students were selling marijuana, ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and prescription drugs. Parke said investigators are trying to determine who was supplying the teens and didn't rule out the possibility of future arrests both student and adult in connection with their ongoing investigation.
"Glad we got it stopped, but it was unfortunate it was there to be stopped," Lowther said.
Parke said all the students were acquainted with each other, but said it appeared they were acting individually rather than as a drug ring.
All the students are currently facing felony distribution charges in juvenile court, but Parke said depending on the decision by the prosecutor, some could be filed on as adults. The distribution charge likely includes an enhancement because of the connection to school, Lowther said. Three of the students were booked into juvenile detention, while the rest were released to parents.
Nate Taggart, a spokesman for the Weber School District, said all the students have been suspended and will have a hearing in the next couple of weeks to determine their future with the district.
He said similar operations have been conducted in the past, though this is the first there this year.
"[Drugs are] definitely a concern,"Taggart said. "That's why we've always worked close with law enforcement. We want to protect kids that are in school and see that the kids that need help get it."
Lowther and Parke said Tuesday's arrests had nothing to do with the disappearance and death of Alexis Rasmussen, 16, a Weber High School student, who was allegedly paid in drugs for baby-sitting by a North Ogden couple just before she went missing September. She was later found dead in Morgan County. Her cause of death has not been released.
"That's just an unfortunate example of why we need to do these types of operations," Parke said.