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Major drug operation halted at northern Indiana high school

NOBLE COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) – Federal and local law enforcement took down a major marijuana operation in Noble County that was used to funnel illegal drugs to students at West Noble High School, according to Noble County Prosecutor Eric Blackman.

Blackman said agents from the DEA, Noble County Sheriff’s Department and Ligonier Police Department conducted a search warrant at a home in the 400 block of East 4th Street in Ligonier Friday morning.

The investigation was spurred by a number of incidents at West Noble High School. The high school principal, Amanda Nine, said 20 students have either been suspended or expelled this school year due to marijuana-related incidents.

In November, administrators discovered students at the school were in possession of marijuana-laced lollipops.

Blackman said through the course of the investigation they discovered the source of the marijuana was a 16-year-old student. The prosecutor said the student appeared to have a well run distribution system and even made trips to California and Colorado to bring pounds of marijuana and marijuana-laced items back to Indiana. Blackman didn’t provide a value of the marijuana, but said it was thousands-of-dollars worth.

“What is most troubling is that the juvenile apparently was distributing the marijuana primarily to other juveniles,” Blackman said in a statement.

The student has not been identified.

“I am pleased that we were able to act quickly to address this problem,” Blackman said. “We take community safety, and especially school safety, very seriously. This incident also provides an important reminder that parents need to be vigilant.  All children deserve the opportunity to grow up in a drug-free environment, and we will continue to work together to be sure they get that chance.”

The 16-year-old is currently detained at the Allen County Juvenile Center.

The investigation is ongoing.