In late March, a 15-year-old student in Long Beach reportedly became ill and disoriented. The boy was treated at an area hospital and released. Long Beach Police say that the incident sparked an investigation into potential drug crimes at Poly High School. Law enforcement claims that a second Poly High student had brought several marijuana-laced brownies to school March 23, the day the first student reportedly became ill.

Police went to the second student’s classroom on that day, searched him and reportedly arrested him on suspicion of possession of marijuana. Law enforcement accuses the young man of distributing three other brownies that same day. A 16-year-old was also implicated by the high school investigation, and that young man was arrested for possession of marijuana.

The allegations did not stop with the arrests of students. Law enforcement have pulled a 48-year-old Long Beach man into the criminal justice system on allegations that he was involved in the events at the school, while acting from afar. Police say that the Long Beach adult had purchased brownies at a local dispensary and then directed the young man from the school to sell the marijuana brownies to students on campus.

The Press-Telegram reports that the adult was arrested on a series of drug charges and booked into jail with bail set at $70,000.

Long Beach Police and the school district teamed up a week later and conducted a raid at the school. Police randomly searched seven classrooms during the coordinated raid and as many as five students are now accused of a variety of offenses. Two Poly High students were arrested in the raid on marijuana charges. Two more were cited for marijuana or drug paraphernalia offenses. One student is accused of possessing a box-cutter at the high school.

California’s juvenile justice system works somewhat differently from the adult system. The juvenile system has as one of its goals the treatment and rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. Juveniles may not necessarily have as many constitutional protections as adults who have been accused of a crime.

In some cases, the goal of the juvenile system can be beneficial in negotiating a favorable outcome for a child accused of a crime. However, the juvenile justice system can also, many times, lead to long-lasting harsh direct and collateral consequences for a student.

Juveniles accused of an offense, and their families, can speak with an experienced Los Angeles juvenile defense lawyer for an assessment of individual allegations and for assistance in navigating the complex rules and issues that can arise in a juvenile case.

Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram, “Marijuana-laced brownies lead to arrests at Poly High School,” Kelly Puente, April 2, 2012