Latest Drug War News

GoodShop: You Shop...We Give!

Shop online at and a percentage of each purchase will be donated to our cause! More than 600 top stores are participating!

The Internet Our Website

Global and National Events Calendar

Bottoms Up: Guide to Grassroots Activism

Prisons and Poisons

November Coalition Projects

Get on the Soapbox! with Soap for Change

November Coalition: We Have Issues!

November Coalition Local Scenes

November Coalition Multimedia Archive

The Razor Wire
Bring Back Federal Parole!
November Coalition: Our House

Stories from Behind The WALL

November Coalition: Nora's Blog

February 24, 2007 - Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN)

6 Chaska Middle Schoolers Charged In Drug Case

The Accusations Involve The Sale And Possession Of Marijuana At Chaska Middle School East

By Bob Von Sternberg, Star Tribune

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

In an unusual case, drug charges were filed Friday against six seventh- and eighth-graders, accused of selling and possessing marijuana at Chaska Middle School East.

Two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old were charged with fourth-degree marijuana sale, a felony. Police said they had been able to document four sales ranging between $3 and $10 that occurred in the school.

The case stands out to officials who work in Twin Cities area schools or with juvenile crime because of the allegation of students selling marijuana in a middle school.

Janet Cain, the assistant Carver County attorney who handles juvenile cases, said she had "never seen a case like this involving kids that age. In 13 years, I can't recall one case."

Likewise, in Minneapolis, the park police officers who serve as liaison officers in the city's schools haven't encountered drug sales at the middle school level, said Lt. Linda Bergstrom, who oversees the unit.

"Issuing marijuana tags for possession isn't unusual," she said. "We've been blessed, so far, that we haven't had selling at that level."

In the case charged Friday, two other students, both 12, were charged with possessing small amounts of marijuana, a petty misdemeanor. A sixth child, 12, was charged with possessing drug paraphernalia, also a petty misdemeanor.

A parent and fellow students reported the alleged drug use to school officials last week.

Principal Jim Bach has said the students could be suspended or expelled, adding that drug use at the school hasn't been a problem.

Chaska police Sgt. Jon Kehrberg agreed. "At the middle school, it's rare," he said. "At the high school, it's not out of the ordinary anymore."

The most recent national survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, released in December, found that in 2006 12.2 percent of eighth-graders said they had, at some point, smoked marijuana, down from an all-time high of 19.2 percent a decade earlier.

The same survey found that 39.6 percent of eighth-graders said it would be "easy" or "very easy" to obtain marijuana. That also represented a steep decline from 1996, when 54.8 percent gave that answer.

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office also reported that marijuana cases involving such young children have been rare over the years.

Meanwhile, St. Paul police are continuing to investigate a pot bust on Monday in which federal agents arrested a Washington state couple for allegedly transporting 157 pounds of marijuana in their truck's converted gas tank.

A decision not to press charges by federal officials, who said it was below the level they present to prosecutors, had some local and state law enforcers wondering aloud.

But attorney Fred Bruno, who isn't involved in the case, said that the amount of marijuana found in the gas tank would "raise just about every eyebrow in the state judicial system, but maybe not many in the federal system."

The suspects were released and their whereabouts are unknown, but the case still could be presented to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office for possible charges.

Staff writer Paul Gustafson contributed to this report.

For the latest drug war news, visit our friends and allies below

We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.

The Drug Policy Alliance
Drug Reform Coordination Network
Drug Sense and The Media Awareness Project

Working to end drug war injustice

Meet the People Behind The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

Questions or problems? Contact