Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Suburban schools no longer a safe haven from illegal drugs

The use of drugs in suburbia is a growing epidemic – it’s not just on the streets anymore, it’s in suburban neighborhoods. The drug epidemic has pulled cocaine and heroin out of the dark shadows of American cities and into our suburban schools.

Today’s drug bust headlines mark a sad day for many of the ‘best of the best’ main line high schools and colleges.We learned of the arrest of 11 people involved in ‘Main Line Take Over Project’, a drug trafficking ring. Apparently two Haverford School graduates, Neil K. Scott, 25, and Timothy C. Brooks, 18, were the drug operation kingpins and hired students at Conestoga, Harriton, Lower Merion, Haverford School and Radnor high schools and college students from Gettysburg, Lafayette and Haverford as their drug peddlers.

A press release this afternoon from Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman’s office contained the details of the drug ring. A 4-month long investigation into the trafficking organization identified Brooks and Scott as the organization’s principal suppliers. Scott was shipped bulk pounds of marijuana from a California supplier and the shipments were delivered to his Haverford apartment (the base of the operation), to his parents’ home in Paoli and to Brooks’ family home in Villanova. In addition to marijuana, Scott and Brooks sold cocaine, hash oil and ecstasy to the high school students and college students.

According to the police report, Scott had designed a business plan with sales incentives for his drug business:

Neil Scott encouraged college sub-dealers to locate new customers to offset his cost of driving to their campuses. Scott offered the sub-dealers incentives for locating new customers and making referrals. The incentives were lower prices for drugs and the opportunity to buy them on credit.

Text messages recovered during this investigation revealed that Neil Scott gave Timothy Brooks business advice on how to expand the sale of marijuana in local high schools. Brooks in return, supervised sub-dealers who sold marijuana at the local high schools. Brooks supplied them with marijuana and encouraged them to efficiently distribute drugs at their schools.

The high school sub-dealers were encouraged to sell at least one (1) pound of marijuana a week. Brooks encouraged his sub-dealers to meet their weekly quota. The incentives included a lower purchase price for marijuana in order to increase their profit margin. Brooks instructed the high school sub-dealers to make certain there was always a constant supply of marijuana in their assigned school. Brooks said this was important to him because he remembered not always being able to buy marijuana when he was in high school.

Multiple search warrants found drug trafficking evidence at 9 locations in Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Northampton, Adams and Philadelphia counties plus the homes of Scott and Brooks. According to the police report, the following items were seized:

  • Approximately 8 pounds of marijuana
  • Approximately 3 grams of hash oil;
  • Approximately 23 grams of cocaine;
  • Approximately 11 grams of MDMA; (Ecstasy)
  • $11,035.00 in U.S. Currency;
  • 1 loaded .223 caliber AR-15 Assault Rifle;
  • 1 loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol;
  • 1 .22 caliber AR-15 style rifle;
  • Additional .22 caliber, .223 caliber and 9mm ammunition;
  • A 2007 Toyota 4 Runner sport utility vehicle;
  • A 2009 Acura RDX sport utility vehicle;
  • 8 cellular phones;
  • 1 computer;
  • Equipment and supplies used to manufacture butane hash oil;
  • Numerous items of drug paraphernalia.

Last month we read in the Philadelphia Inquirer, that Chester County released theirheroin overdose statisticsand at that time District Attorney Tom Hogan commented, “Heroin does not discriminate. It is a deadly drug that is abused by young and old, poor and rich, white and black. Nobody is safe … There are students in every high school in Chester County who are using heroin, from Conestoga to Coatesville, from Unionville to Oxford.”

For decades, families moved from cities and into the suburbs in part because many believed that suburban schools provided a more wholesome environment. Many believed that moving from the city to suburbia provided a certain way of life, one of tranquil, tree-lined streets, soccer leagues and better schools for their families. Similarly, to my upbringing outside Washington, DC in a Maryland suburb, there are probably Main Line parents who thought that suburban public schools would provide their children with safe and more wholesome environment than their urban counterparts. Today’s drug arrest on the Main Line should provide a reality check for all.

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  1. I really hope you are not that naive to think that drugs are new to this area or new to the schools.

    It’s hardly a ‘growing epidemic.’ Drugs are all over the place. The best thing you could hope for is that it’s only pot, but heroin is far more prevalent then you would ever guess. Ecstasy and Oxys are all around too.

    This will never change as the main line attitude is always to play ignorance and sweep it under the carpet and hope everyone just forgets about it.

    1. Exactly. Drugs are not a new thing at CHS or any other local high school. Interesting that Pattye doesn’t know this given all the attention she gives to TESD.

    2. Could not agree with you more CJ. It stuns me that people are so surprised that there is a drug problem. A little money and lots of opportunities when Mom and Dad think there kids can do no wrong. Time to step outside of that little bubble!!! It is SAD!!

  2. There was a time when a kid had to make a run to Philly for drugs but that hasn’t been the case for some time. I’d say a combination of allowance money, boredom, and knowing that mommy and daddy will bail them out if they get into trouble are the cause of this. However, my observation is that most seem to get it out of their system by the time they graduate college.

    1. The whole gist of the article is spot on — that these entrepreneurs wanted to take over the Main Line. The drugs for TESD and other schools used to come in on the train — kids would pick up at Berwyn or whatever and the dealer would be right back on the train to the city. These young privileged men saw a business opportunity. And to anyone who thinks taking their kids out of one school to send to another is a solution, good luck. The only benefit private schools offer (note these two entrepreneurs went to Haverford School) is that kids have no due process — they can be expelled more easily. Kids in public schools have due process — denying them an education takes some effort (and can even require the school district to pay for home schooling if the student is underage. )

      As to cell phones — kids can’t text and learn either. Having a phone is one thing — using it in class is another…no matter how helpful 24/7 contact is. Then again, lots of these same kids text during dinner, church, driving, and it’s an awesome way to cheat.

  3. Both of my kids went through CHS in the early 2000’s and it was an eye opener to realize then that the school was not safe and that they seemed to sweep it all under the rug and not warn the parents. I ended up taking my kids out of CHS and placing them in a smaller school. Not that they did not have their problems too but it was smaller and easier to contain. My kids used to tell me you could get any drug you wanted in the CHS bathroom.

    1. yep.. and I was naive to not know that those water bottles containing vodka and gin didn’t have water in them.. This is more rampant that we as parents know… Think teachers patrol the bathrooms? Why not?

  4. Parents need to have a bigger presence in their children’s lives and even when they do it’s still hard. The phone allows kids to lead separate and independent lives. The second to second instant communication through texting creates an atmosphere where kids are completely on their own. When a car is then entered into the equation, forget about it. Kids can and do just about anything they want. Can you imagine, even 10 years ago, a child running a drug business out of his parents home? Think about it. They would have to use the family land line making it impossible for private conversations and the moment to moment private communication through texting did not exist. It just couldn’t happen or if it did, it would be extremely difficult. I think it may benefit the kids for the school to gather everyone together and talk about this and especially emphasize how this will effect the lives of these young men

    1. I think you have given all the reasons why this needs to be addressed within families. A school program would not be well received by the offenders and only the families have the leverage to enact change within their household.

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