Residents of Fort Worth, Texas, and the surrounding area, including Plano, were stunned after police arrested 18 people, including 15 students at Texas Christian University, for alleged drug distribution. But the undercover investigation and the way the students are being viewed raises some important questions.
Police had reportedly been working on the case for six months before taking the suspects into custody. Those arrested are alleged to have sold drugs to undercover police officers in a number of locations, from a restaurant to a parking lot to a frat house. Police said one 20-year-old woman sold marijuana from her upscale home. Police also said some of the drug deals allegedly happened in a drug-free zone, which could increase the penalty of anyone convicted.
In addition to marijuana, the drugs the undercover officers claim they bought included cocaine, ecstasy, acid and prescription medication.
Of those taken into custody, four men played football for the nationally ranked TCU Horned Frogs. Police said they sold marijuana across the campus and to teammates.
Fort Worth and TCU police began investigating alleged drug sales after parents and students alerted officials that they believed drug dealing was occurring on and near the campus. Police said more arrests could be made.
TCU's chancellor said if any of the students are convicted they will be expelled.
One of the arrested players allegedly told an undercover officer that 82 football players failed a drug test, according to police documents. In 2011, a national magazine had reported that TCU was the only football team ranked among the top 25 that didn't have a player with a criminal record.
The arrests and the possible consequences for a conviction are enough to make you wonder about how we punish people accused of drug crimes. Would a student really be better served if they were kicked out of school, or should they be given a chance to prove that a lesson has been learned?
Source: Star-Telegram, "Police: TCU students sold drugs to undercover officers during sting," Mitch Mitchell and Stefan Stevenson, Feb. 15, 2012