Exeter High students busted in drug sting

Undercover officer poses as student; drug charges filed.

The Fresno BeeMarch 14, 2012 

One dozen Exeter High students were arrested on campus Wednesday on suspicion of selling illegal drugs to an undercover officer following an eight-month investigation.

The students are likely to face charges of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of a controlled substance for sale, conspiracy and accessory to a crime, according to the Exeter Police Department.

A young-looking police officer who recently finished police academy training enrolled as a student and started attending classes, said Exeter City Manager Randy Groom.

"He blended in and did his job very methodically," Groom said.

Over the eight-month period, the undercover officer made several purchases of marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs and other narcotics, the police department said.

Some of the marijuana was grown as medical marijuana, Groom said.

The arrests began at 11 a.m. after the school was placed on lockdown.

Teams of three -- an Exeter police officer, a school counselor and a Tulare County sheriff's deputy -- went into classrooms and removed students who were being arrested, Groom said.

They were a 19-year-old, three 18-year-olds and eight under 18. The youngest person arrested is 15.

Police launched the investigation after receiving complaints about drugs on and off campus, Groom said.

The school district fully cooperated with the investigation, he said.

Exeter High is the city's only regular high school.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or on Twitter @fb_LewGriswold

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