Philly preppies accused in ‘Main Line take over’ drug operation aimed at cornering supply to fancy schools

Authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., said 18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott led an 11-person, drug-ring operation. Both of them, as well as some of their alleged employees, attended the upscale Haverford School, an all-boys preparatory school. (Reuters)

 

They called the operation the “Main Line take over project.” In terms of intricacy and ambition, it appears more suited for the business pages than the crime blotter. But its objective,  according to authorities in Montgomery County, Pa., couldn’t have been more simple: saturate eastern Pennsylvania schools in drugs, expand the clientele base and always keep supply pumping.

Authorities say at the top of the operation’s 11-person apparatus were 18-year-old Timothy Brooks and 25-year-old Neil Scott. Both of them, as well as some of their alleged employees, attended the Haverford School, an all-boys preparatory school that costs $35,000 per year and is nestled inside Philadelphia’s affluent “Main Line.” 

From within those communities, the young men allegedly hatched a nationwide drug smuggling operation that began in California and returned to eight wealthy high schools and colleges in greater Philadelphia.

On Monday, following a four-month investigation, 11 members of the group were arrested on charges of corrupt organization, intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

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The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office says the operation worked like this: Scott, an unshaven 2008 graduate of Haverford School, had the drugs shipped to his Haverford apartment. He then used that house, or his parents’ place, or Brooks’s tree-lined Villanova home to conduct “drug business.”

Prosecutors say the youths ran marijuana, cocaine, hash oil and ecstasy down the organization’s ranks to nine subsidiary dealers stationed at five high schools and three colleges.

Each dealer allegedly had a quota: moving at least one pound of marijuana per week. Police say Brooks, whom Scott allegedly coached on drug economics, was a driving supervisor. Prosecutors say he wanted them to “efficiently distribute drugs.” He allegedly even added incentives, including lowering the purchase price for marijuana “to increase their profit margin.”

He allegedly wanted supply high. “Brooks instructed the high school sub-dealers to make certain there was always a constant supply of marijuana in their assigned schools,” investigators charge. “Brooks said this was important to him because he remembered not always being able to buy marijuana when he was in high school.”

Brooks’s high school experience comes into sharper focus on social media. On Facebook, he and the accused sub-dealers’ play lacrossepose for family photoshug catsfence and wear lots of button-downs. In all, they look like everyday, if wealthy, teens and 20-somethings — perhaps characters out of “The Social Network,” the movie about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s birth. Not the sort to be caught with what investigators say they found: eight pounds of marijuana, 23 grams of cocaine, 11 grams of ecstasy, three grams of hash oil, $11,000 in cash, two AR-15 rifles, one handgun and loads of ammo.

And it’s that contrast that has shocked some in the Haverford community. “This is a huge story because of the prestige of the schools involved,” one of Brooks’s friends, who requested anonymity, told The Washington Post. “It’s not like this is the first time there has been a drug bust. It’s the uniqueness of the perpetrators.”


Innocuous-seeming Facebook profile screenshots of accused drug dealers Dan McGrath (left), Willow Orr (middle), and Timothy Brooks (right).

From the outside, Brooks, a square-jawed and gregarious teen, appeared to have a lot going for him. He excelled at lacrosse and adopted the nonchalant disposition of the disinterested jock – “@cant_readbrooks” is his Twitter handle. After graduating from Haverford School in 2013, he netted a scholarship to play lacrosse at the University of Richmond. “Richmond has everything I wanted,” he told Phillylacrosse.com in early 2013. “The school has a great academic reputation, is in a perfect region, and the campus is awesome.”

He had planned to study business. But shortly after the lacrosse season started that year, his friend told The Post he suffered a “career-ending” shoulder injury. “The shoulder injury put him down the wrong path,” said the friend, who visited with Brooks at a January party after Brooks had learned prosecutors were investigating him. “His friends were off at college, and he was chilling at home and got bored. The idle mind is a dangerous one.”

Though some of Brooks’s friends suspected he was in trouble, few had any idea of the extent.

“I knew he was into some sketchy stuff,” the friend said. “But I had no idea he was a drug kingpin.”

Terrence McCoy writes on foreign affairs for The Washington Post's Morning Mix. Follow him on Twitter here.
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