More details have come to the forefront following a drug task force sweep that led to several arrests at Newton High School and a total of nine arrests in a 24 hour time period.
Newton Police made a set of drug-related arrests Jan 17, sweeping up several juveniles — and two adults — at school and their homes. The bulk of the arrests were made Wednesday morning as part of a Harvey County Drug Task Force investigation into drug activity at Newton High School.
One other suspect in the case was already in custody on other charges.
At about 10 a.m. five juveniles were arrested on warrants, some at school and some in their homes. One juvenile was arrested later in the day. One juvenile had been arrested the previous day.
Both Evan Kelsey, 18, and Ezequiel Raymundo, 19, were arrested and booked into the Havey County Jail for violations of statute 21-5705 — the distribution of opiates, opium or narcotic drugs — and 21-5707 — use of a communication facility. The other six arrested Jan. 17 were juveniles taken to community corrections for juvenile intake. One arrest warrant, for a juvenile, is still outstanding. The total number of warrants issued was 10 — eight for juveniles, two for adults.
According to police, all those arrested either attend NHS or have recently withdrawn. They were arrested on charges of selling marijuana, Xanax, oxycodone and hydrocodone. During the course of the investigation, police seized 74.5 grams of marijuana and 97 dosage units of prescription drugs. None of the cases involved weapons and the investigations did not present a danger to students or staff.
"There was a lot of prescription medication that went around," Murphy said. "When you have prescription medication, some of that can be addictive. If you have some of that, you need to keep it secure and keep an eye on quantities and they are matching what you are using. People can come in, take two or three pills out of a prescription. You may never miss it."
The arrests are the culmination of a two-month investigation by the Newton Police Department and Harvey County Sheriff's Office, in cooperation with USD 373 officials.
“Our goal is to protect the safe and healthy learning environment for Newton students,”said Newton Police Chief Eric Murphy. “Youth are faced with many challenges at school, and the peer pressure to use drugs should not be one of them.”
Also as part of Wednesday’s arrests, several K-9 teams from throughout the state assisted in conducting free air sniffs in the parking lot and locker areas. One K-9 drug indication in the parking lot was investigated, but no arrests were made.
Murphy said that re-establishment of the Harvey County Drug Task Force in 2017 was a key factor in the investigation