Newton Police Chief Eric Murphy delivered a message Tuesday when talking about the Harvey County Drug Task Force — and a series of 11 arrests connected to Newton High School last month.
“We are not done,” Murphy said. “Detectives are still focusing on additional leads at the high school.”
He spoke to the Newton City Commission Feb. 13.
The task force was able to obtain 11 mandatory detention warrants for suspects accused of selling a mixture of drugs including prescriptions, marijuana and cocaine. More than half of those arrested were juveniles.
It was the culmination of more than two months of investigation.
During the months of November and December, the task force established relationships with students at the school. That resulted in the sale of, or the arrangement for the sale of, drugs to confidential informants and under cover officers. All of the transactions were set up during school hours.
“For many years we have heard rumors of drug activity at Newton High School,” Murphy said. “... The operation was done with the cooperation and collaboration of USD 373 officials.”
Five suspects were arrested at the school, two at their homes and one turned themselves in — all on the same day. Three others were arrested at other times.
Murphy said the task force is working in other communities as well — but has found schools in the smaller towns hard to get connected to.
But there are success stories.
“We've had a controlled buy from an individual who has been the source of drugs for many years that we had trouble with,” Murphy said. “We have worked with a family that has been active in the drug trade from more than 27 years. … We have conducted search warrants in Halstead, Newton and North Newton.”