Drug war turns kids into criminals: Police arrest Palm Bay sixth-grader after receiving tip he was selling on school playground.
PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Officers with the Neighborhood Policing Unit arrested a 12-year-old boy Thursday afternoon on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. Two other students at the school are under investigation for their involvement in possibly supplying the marijuana.
Under Florida law, information about the identity of juveniles who are charged with misdemeanor offenses is confidential and cannot be disclosed.
On Thursday afternoon, police said NPU Officer Neil Valenti, accompanied by other NPU Officers, was at Discovery Elementary School on the city’s northwest side as part of a routine visit. During his visit, the officers received information about a specific sixth-grade student who had drugs in his possession.
Valenti and NPU Officer Sean Dutill were familiar with the student and a short time later made contact with the juvenile as he was walking home from school in the area of Dallam Avenue NW and Dutonia Street NW.
When asked if he had drugs on him, the student said “yes” and police said he showed Dutill a small amount of marijuana he had in his hands. Upon further questioning, the student pulled out more marijuana from his pants pocket. The marijuana was individually packaged in small baggies, police said.
The student was placed under arrest for possession of marijuana.
Further investigation revealed the boy obtained the marijuana from another sixth-grader who may have obtained it from yet another student at the school. The investigation is ongoing and efforts are under way to determine who is supplying the children with the illegal drugs, police said.
“The good news here is that students at the school are coming forward with information,” Valenti said. “Hopefully we can change the criminal behavior before it gets worse.”
NPU officers routinely visit all area elementary schools as part of a pro-active program to promote positive relationships with law enforcement. Students are encouraged to make positive life choices and are educated by police officers in matters of drug prevention, crime prevention, gun safety, internet safety and more.
“The important thing for these children to know is there are consequences for not doing the right thing,” Dutill added. “We’re glad to see other students doing the right thing in coming forward.”
– Article from Florida Today.