Anne Arundel County school officials said yesterday they will determine this week the status of 16 high school students arrested since Friday on drug charges in the county's ongoing and determined campaign against drugs in school.
County police said one more arrest was expected late yesterday. Of the 17 students targeted for arrest, police said 13 attend Annapolis High School, one is a former Annapolis student and three attend Severna Park High School.
The students, who range in age from 15 to 18, are among an estimated 5,000 Anne Arundel County students who have been accused by school officials for use, possession or distribution of drugs since the county cracked down 15 years ago, according to Deputy Superintendent C. Berry Carter.
Undercover police officers have participated in the antidrug program since 1978, arresting as many as 20 students at a time on seven or eight occasions, Carter said.
He said students do not necessarily condone the use of undercover officers in the school. But parents, staff and students have become more supportive of the drug program over the years. "Now our phone calls are running at least 10 to 1 in favor."
In the most recent sweep, police arrested nine students Friday morning at 1,700-student Annapolis High School, and one at Severna Park, also on Friday. The other arrests occurred outside school, and one boy turned himself in Saturday, police said. That student was the only one of those arrested who was identified, because he is not a juvenile. He was identified as Morris E. Mackell, 18, of Annapolis.
Police said they were led to the Severna Park students during their investigation of Annapolis High students.
All of the students were charged with distribution or conspiracy to distribute drugs, police said. The drugs included marijuana, hashish, PCP and cocaine, according to police. It was the first time police found cocaine since the undercover investigations began, police said.
Annapolis High School Principal Kenneth Catlin said the nine students arrested on campus were suspended yesterday pending decisions by the superintendent on whether they should be expelled. If distribution charges are proved, the students will be expelled, under the county's drug policy.