Lock Down Drill at Falmouth High School Results in Drug Arrest
By: Brent Runyon
A Falmouth High School student was arrested yesterday morning and charged with distributing marijuana in school, after drug-sniffing dogs reportedly found marijuana brownies in his possession during a lock down drill.
The school had been placed into a lock down yesterday morning as part of a standard drill for emergency procedures that is done twice a year. As part of that exercise, Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department K9 units searched the school and found contraband in the student’s possession.
Police said Matthew D. Montella, 18, of Wellwood Circle, Hatchville, had a Tupperware container with marijuana brownies in his backpack, and three more trays of brownies in his car. Police arrested him for distributing a Class D drug, and drug violations near a school or park.
According to the police report, Mr. Montella told police and school Principal Joseph D. Driscoll that he baked two ounces of marijuana into the brownies the night before. Police also confiscated $129 in cash in his possession.
Police said he initially told them he did not sell any of the brownies, but later told Detective Robert B. Murray he sold the brownies for $10 each.
Police said Mr. Montella also had an accounting sheet figuring out how much he spent on the marijuana, and how much he should sell each brownie for to make a profit. Mr. Montella was arraigned yesterday and pleaded not guilty at Falmouth District Court. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 13.
Drug raid included in gun emergency drill
Falmouth Public Schools Superintendent Marc P. Dupuis said the lock down drill is standard procedure, but the search with drug-sniffing dogs is a way to discourage drug use in the school.
“We want to deter drug activity,” Mr. Dupuis said. “We want to send a strong message that drug use is strongly discouraged.” Mr. Dupuis said he could not comment on the student’s particular situation.
The entire school and parking lot area was searched, he said, including the teachers’ parking area.
“No staff member has been charged with anything and no one is suspended today,” Falmouth High School Principal Joseph D. Driscoll he said.
A total of 18 students were pulled from their classes for suspicion of illegal substances and their parents were contacted, he said. Three students were found to have contraband and were disciplined by the school. There was also a small bag of marijuana found in the hallway, he said.
Mr. Driscoll said he personally searched through the students’ backpacks after the drug sniffing dogs identified a possible illegal substance.
Mr. Driscoll said the drill yesterday was planned months in advance and executed with minimal disruption to the school. “It was not chaotic,” he said.
The drill is designed to approximate a situation where a gunman is in the school, he said.
No warning of search
“We don’t tell them it’s a drill. We put the students in lock down and move them to a secure area. The shades are drawn and the doors are closed and secured, just in case there is someone in the building with a gun,” he said.
Police went from room to room and took the students out into the hallway, while the drug-sniffing dogs searched the room and the students’ belongings.
“The dogs have absolutely no contact with the students,” Mr. Driscoll said. Once a student’s possessions are identified as having a suspicious smell, the bag is identified by a teacher, placed in a white bag and taken to the principal’s office, where it is then searched.
If there were a gunman in the school, Principal Driscoll said, the students would remain in place in the secure room until they are removed from the high school one class at a time under police protection.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.