As more laws are passed and enforced to provide a safe learning environment for students, what may have resulted in a mere suspension years ago, may now earn prison time. Read about these students in Hawkins County that face incarceration for their actions.
Four people have been indicted in a Volunteer High School pill trafficking scheme that sent one student to the emergency room in March of 2008 with an overdose.
Three of the four were students at VHS at the time of their arrest last March, and the other suspect, Ricky Lee Smith Jr., 20, of Church Hill, is accused of initially supplying the pills to one of the students.
Smith was named in a single-count Hawkins County grand jury indictment Monday charging him with criminal responsibility for conduct of another and possession of a controlled substance in a Drug Free School Zone.
Smith was arrested in May during a massive Hawkins County drug suspect roundup involving several different cases. The investigation into Smith began with the March 23 on-campus arrest of VHS students Benjamin Harrison Smith, 18, of Church Hill, and Zachery Steven Blizzard, 19, of Surgoinsville.
Benjamin Smith allegedly brought about 50 Clonazepam pills to school that day and “fronted” the pills to Blizzard for the purpose of selling them. Blizzard came to the attention of school officials and police after another student apparently overdosed on pills and was rushed to the hospital.
Blizzard, who was allegedly found in possession of 21 Clonazepam pills and about $20 in cash, implicated Benjamin Smith as his source. The subsequent investigation resulted in Ricky Smith being implicated as Benjamin Smith’s source for the pills.
Clonazepam is a muscle relaxer that was reportedly being sold for $1 each.
Benjamin Smith and Blizzard were indicted recently on one count each of possession of a controlled substance in a Drug Free School Zone. Blizzard was additionally indicted on one count of felony reckless endangerment related to the student who overdosed.
The possession charges for Ricky Smith, Benjamin Smith and Blizzard are elevated to Class C felonies due to being in a Drug Free School Zone and are punishable by three to six years in prison if found guilty. Those sentences would also have to be served at 100 percent with no release eligibility due to the involvement with a school.
Also indicted in this case was Katie Elizabeth Clendenin, 18, of Church Hill, on one count of facilitation of delivery of a controlled substance in a Drug Free School Zone. Clendenin was arrested in the massive May drug sweep as well, accused of assisting Benjamin Smith find customers for the pills. Her charge is a Class D felony punishable by two to four years in prison if found guilty, and not the elevated charge her co-defendants face.
At the Law Office of Andrew E. Farmer, we believe and promote school and student safety. We hope that you take this as a warning not to get involved in crimes around schools or involving students. We encourage you to call the Law Office of Andrew E. Farmer for a free consultation at (865) 428-6737. We serve clients in Hawkins County, Sullivan County, Sevier County, Jefferson County, Blount County, Knox County, and Anderson County. Let our office be your East Tennessee attorney.