SUMMERSIDE — A city teen was arrested Wednesday, found with 2.5 ounces of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia as he was entering Three Oaks Senior High.
He now faces drug-trafficking charges and a potential two-year prison sentence.
The 17-year-old man, a student at the county’s largest high school, had been under investigation by police for about two weeks.
This week, the Prince District JFO Drug Unit had enough information to prompt action, moving in to arrest the teen on school grounds midday Wednesday.
During his arrest, police seized marijuana, prepackaged and in bulk, along with a digital scale used to weigh the drug, cash, cellphone and packaging supplies.
Cpl. Andy Cook said police believe the teen was not only selling drugs inside the school but in the community.
“We grabbed him coming in the front doors,” Cook said on Thursday.
He couldn’t comment if it was the first bust of its kind at the city school.
“It is significant in that it took place in a school, which is concerning, obviously, to myself and I am sure to parents,” said Cook. “I know the school is extremely concerned about it.”
The 70 grams of marijuana, at $10 a gram, would be worth about $700 on the street.
When asked if there is increase in drug use and trafficking within area schools Cook said he personally isn’t receiving information to indicate that is the case.
“There is always a percentage of students that partake in those activities.”
The issue of having a police officer situated in the school was raised by city council earlier this year, something at the time principal Nicole Haire said she supported.
The idea was to have an officer act as a liaison between the city, students, parents and teachers and promote positive relationships with the students.
“I don’t think we are ever going to come up with a perfect solution. It certainly, from our perspective, the drug section’s perspective, it is a special circumstance to try and investigate that,” he added. “That individual wasn’t only trafficking at the school but off of school grounds. That is where the bulk of our investigation took place.”
Calls for comment made to the school and to English Language School Board superintendent Cynthia Fleet have not yet been returned.
The teen was released to his parents and will appear in Summerside provincial court at a later date to answer to the drug-trafficking charge.
Cook wouldn’t comment on whether or not the teen had a prior related record.
With recent amendments to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, particularly Section 5(3)(ii), the minimum sentence is two years in jail if “the person committed the offence in or near a school, on or near school grounds or in or near any other public place usually frequented by persons under the age of 18 years.
Police say there are also other amendments relating to using people under the age of 18 in committing this offense, which can also garner the same sentence.
“We’re going to consult with our Crown counsel as to what happens. Mandatory minimums are so new that we’re still feeling our way out with them,” said Cook. “We leave it with the Crown. Usually we give our input to them but as far as sentencing goes the Crown puts forward what they feel is a relevant sentence and the judge makes that decision.”
He said parents should talk with their children about the perils of illegal drug use.
“When I do lectures in schools I don’t go in and tell them what to do because they are at an age that they don’t listen,” said the RCMP officer. “Educate them. Educate them on what the dangers are of each drug. Marijuana is certainly not without its dangers, contrary to what a lot of people think.”