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California students arrested in drug possession raid

Nearly two dozen California students have been arrested after a drug raid in Riverside County. Authorities report that the high-school students were found with a variety of illegal drugs and substances, including crack cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. In all, 23 juveniles and two adults were arrested between Perris High School and Paloma Valley High School. The two adult students were an 18-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, both of which were arrested at Perris High School. It is not clear whether the students were charged with simple drug possession or the more serious drug distribution.

Authorities were that the raid occurred based on tips from a female deputy who was under cover of one of the schools. A male deputy was working at the other. Both of them had been posing as students since the beginning of the school year. Students at both schools explain that officers came into their classrooms and simply handcuffed and arrested those people in front of their classmates. Students at the high schools said they were unnerved to learn that those two individuals were actually deputies; they expressed concern about the fact that they could not trust their own classmates.

Recently released information indicates that the Sheriff's Department has been actively involved in undercover drug investigations in high schools in the area during recent years. An investigation in 2012 also yielded about two dozen student arrests between Chaparral and Temecula Valley high schools. Similar stings were also conducted in 2011 and 2010.

Even though these things may seem legally fair, family members of one arrested student from the 2012 raids have filed a lawsuit against the Temecula Valley Unified School District after a special education student was arrested in connection with the drug investigation. Further, such undercover work can also be construed as entrapment in some cases, especially among vulnerable populations such as juveniles who will face serious consequences if convicted. Juveniles who are accused of drug distribution or drug possession deserve special protection in the courts; a qualified criminal defense attorney can help these individuals learn more about their legal rights and responsibilities.

Source: The Christian Post, "Nearly 2 Dozen Students Arrested on Drug Charges After California Cops Went Back to High School as Undercover 11th Graders" Leonardo Blair, Dec. 17, 2013

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