11 Redmond High students arrested in drug bust

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News and KING5.com

KING5.com

Posted on February 19, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 19 at 11:24 PM

REDMOND, Wash. - Redmond Police have arrested and charged nearly a dozen students at Redmond High School in a drug bust on campus.

Officers swept through the high school around 9 a.m. and arrested 11 students during the raid. Redmond Police say all the suspects are underage, including two 15-year-olds, six 16-year-olds, and three 17-year-olds.

Sophomore Cole Lieshman said he was in second period science when his classmate was arrested.

"Police came in and asked for his name," Cole said, "and he just got handcuffed in class."

The arrests were the result of an ongoing investigation at the school since the beginning of the school year. During the operation, undercover officers purchased marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, and a variety of prescription medications from the students.

"Any type of drugs is alarming, but when you go in and get the marijuana and the heroin and the cocaine, it's shocking for us and alarming," said Redmond Police spokesman Jim Bove. "I will say the Lake Washington School District has zero tolerance, and so do we."

Still, one former student said access to those kinds of drugs is quite easy, if you know the right person to call.

"Right now, I could call someone up who would either be able to sell, or actually just get me some reference, " said Josh Cutler. "Within an hour, I could just get about any substance I wanted."

Cutler said he recently completed rehabilitation treatment for alcohol and prescription drug abuse, and said he's keeping clean and keeping his grades up in order to attend his college of choice.  He added that students shouldn't be shocked at the prevalence of so-called "harder" drugs on campus.

Calling it a hidden problem, he said "people [in this community] can still get good grades and they can still take care of themselves, and not appear to be an addict."

The investigation was a joint effort with the Redmond High School administration and a long-term undercover operation that targets use, possession and distribution of drugs on and off school campus.

"Unfortunately drugs of many kinds are being sold in high schools all over the state and all over the country," said Katheryne Reith, Lake Washington School District. "Our efforts are to make sure it does not happen, and that is what this is part of."

The drugs were sold both in and outside the school boundaries. The school district emphasizes the arrests do not reflect the entire school body at the high school.

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