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.