The investigation into a Philadelphia area high school drug ring began months ago. Police arrested one alleged ringleader in February. School administrators tell the Philadelphia Inquirer they didn’t know about the probe until hours before authorities Monday announced the arrests of 11 people and unveiled a cache of seized drugs, cash, and weapons. The admission underscores a frustration among some law enforcement agencies vying to root out networks that peddle to teens: Collaborating with schools during investigations can be difficult or counterproductive.
“School systems, historically, just are not interested in working with law enforcement,” said Jonathan Duecker, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control at the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Chester County District Attorney Thomas Hogan said the issue is an image problem. “No school wants to be known as the school where we found drugs,” he said. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said Neil Scott, 25, and Timothy Brooks, 18, organized and operated the drug trafficking operation they nicknamed “the main line take over project.” The men, both alumni of the Haverford School, a private prep school, recruited student dealers and sold marijuana and other drugs at four High Schools, plus several colleges.