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East student arrested on drug, other charges

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A Columbus East student was arrested during school hours after he was discovered in the high school parking lot with drugs, a knife and pellet guns, police said.

He faces five preliminary charges, including one felony.

At 9:22 a.m. Friday, Student Resource Officer Julie Quesenbery was patrolling the school parking lot when she saw the 17-year-old smoking what appeared to be marijuana in his car, said Columbus Police Department spokesman Sgt. Matt Harris.

After the teen was arrested, a search of the vehicle’s trunk turned up liquor, narcotics, a switchblade knife and several pellet guns, Harris said.

The teen was taken to the Bartholomew County Youth Shelter on the following preliminary charges:

Possession of a knife on school property (Level 6 felony)

Possession of drug paraphernalia (Class A misdemeanor)

Possession of marijuana under 30 grams (Class A misdemeanor)

Possession of a Schedule III controlled substance (Class A misdemeanor).

Possession of alcohol (Class C misdemeanor)

Since the knife and air guns were secured in the trunk, investigators don’t think there was any intent to use them to intimidate or harm other students, Harris said.

But police are concerned because the pellet guns confiscated Friday look identical to their high-velocity counterparts, the police spokesman said.

“They are extremely realistic,” Harris said. “If an officer saw this weapon on the street, it could be a dangerous situation.”

After almost two dozen reports of look-alike guns being mistaken for high-velocity weapons were made to Columbus Police Department during the first half of last year, the City Council began discussing a possible ordinance to consider limits on facsimiles of firearms.

On July 1, 2013, the council approved rules on children under the age of 18 displaying or discharging weapons such as BB guns, paint guns or pellet guns in public, or removing orange identifying marks on such weapons. The fine for first offenses was set at $150.

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