Police bust drug ring allegedly led by 17-year-old Ohio high school student

LEBANON, OH - A 17-year-old high school student in Ohio has been charged with several counts of drug trafficking after allegedly spearheading a pot ring, and employing several other Mason High School students in the process.

The 17-year-old turned himself in to Warren County Juvenile Detention personnel Tuesday morning. He was released and has a court date scheduled for July 31 at 4 p.m.

Police said the 17-year-old, whose identity 9 News will not disclose because of his age, led them to a $3 million marijuana growing operation involving seven adults.

"If you were a Mason High School student and you were purchasing marijuana, there was a huge chance that it was based from him," said John Burke of the Warren County Drug Task Force.

Authorities emphasize that none of the pot appeared to have been sold on school property.

Gerald Peele, Michael Lopez, Stacy Lampe, Cody Lampe, Justin Baker, William Sparks and Allen Honeycutt were indicted Friday on a total of 46 separate felony charges ranging from trafficking and cultivation to endangering children and possession of criminal tools.

Deputies arrested the majority of the suspects on Monday with the exception of Lopez and Baker. Officials on Tuesday said Baker was in police custody and that Lopez remains on the run.

Those in custody will be arraigned in Warren County Common Pleas Court at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Hundreds of marijuana plants were discovered in hydroponic grow-houses in Norwood and Blue Ash.

For about a year, the Warren County Drug Task Force had been investigating the trafficking of high-grade marijuana being sold to students at Mason and King Mills high schools, which they say they traced to the 17-year-old. When officials searched the boy's house, they found more than $6,000 in cash in his bedroom at his parents' house.

As part of the investigation, task force members searched locations in Blue Ash, Norwood and Hamilton where they seized more than 600 hydroponic high grade marijuana plants .

Officials with the Warren County Drug Task Force say the street value from the pot was $5,000 a pound.

They seized thousands of dollars in grow equipment as well.

Authorities valued the drug operation at more than $3 million and say they believe the 17-year-old was grossing more than $20,000 a month.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell says the teen appeared to be a the typical boy-next-door, and the arrests should send a signal to parents everywhere.

"It should encourage parents to... understand what exactly [their] kids are involved in," he said.

ABC News obtained home video that shows the teen skateboarding, an activity they said he enjoyed doing along with keeping up with friends on Facebook.

"Clearly he is a very intelligent individual and he was somebody who was operating a major drug organization as a 15-, 16-year-old student," said Fornshell. "He clearly has some intelligence but certainly misguided."

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