A 13-year-old student from the Rim Country Middle School was suspended from school right before Christmas and faces possible expulsion for allegedly selling cocaine to her classmates.
"We got a call from the school to go over there, that they had had a problem with a student bringing a narcotic cocaine onto school grounds," said an agent from the Gila County Narcotics Task Force.
During the investigation, agents discovered about one-eighth ounce of cocaine that the girl admitted giving to a friend to hide.
"Apparently, she somehow found out that she might be searched by teachers because of something some of the other students were saying," the agent said. "She gave the (cocaine) to a friend to hide for her."
The second student told school officials Dec. 18 about the situation, and task force agents were called in to handle the situation.
"We interviewed a lot of students over there," the agent said. "Several juveniles were involved, but our case just involved the one student. The second student, however, was reprimanded by the school, I believe. If she hadn't come forward when she did, those drugs could have ended up being distributed."
When interviewed by officers from the task force, the agent said their suspect admitted that she not only has access to cocaine, but had also sold some on occasion.
"We think the problem was handled right away by the school acting so fast," the agent said. "Then, we acted right away. I think the problem has been taken care of."
The agent said the case has been referred to juvenile probation, which could turn the matter over to the Gila County Attorney's office for review.
In the meantime, the agent said, the student's school career may be in jeopardy, pending possible review by the school district's governing board.
School officials were unavailable for comment due to the Christmas break.