The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

’09 Graduate Accused of Making Text Message-Arranged Drug Deals to Students During Lunch

After graduating from WJ in June, Arian Mohammadi was arrested last Tuesday after being found in possession of drugs near Georgetown Square during lunch.


Mohammadi was pulled over during lunch with two students in his car after detectives from the Montgomery County Police Special Investigations Division Drug Enforcement Section had conducted an undercover operation.

According to security team leader Howard Beaubien, the security team had been noticing suspicious interactions between Mohammadi and students at G-Square during lunch.

“We’re over there to monitor what’s going on in the sense of fights and things like that and then when you see other activity that doesn’t look right, you take note of it and observe it,” said Beaubien. “Then we just pass that information on to the police.”

The activity between Mohammadi and students was observed by security and Educational Facilities Officer Rosyln Mills for approximately one to one and a half weeks.  Mills then quickly got the Drug Enforcement Section involved. On the day of the arrest, undercover officers observed Mohammadi interact with numerous students, and once they saw him enter his SUV with two male students and an 18-year-old non-student, they pulled him over on Rock Spring Drive.

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According to a police press release, the officers smelled the odor of marijuana in Mohammadi’s car. A further search of his vehicle revealed 15 small bags of marijuana, a pipe generally used for smoking marijuana, two tablets of Ecstasy and approximately $1200 in cash.

Mohammadi was taken into police custody and then arrested, and Mills escorted the two WJ students back to school. The students and other passenger were not charged with anything because there were no grounds to charge them.  According to the press release, Mills contacted the parents of the students “to inform them that the students had been in company of a drug dealer who possessed illegal drugs.” The school security team assisted in crowd control at G-Square, as commotion built up.

“Once we figured out what was going on and answered any questions [the police] had, we just came on inside and [Mills] just escorted [the two students] back,” said Beaubien.  “[This] is normal procedure, whether it’s something like that or a student getting caught shoplifting at Giant.”

Mohammadi was charged with possession of marijuana in sufficient quantity for intent to distribute, possession of marijuana in sufficient quantity to distribute within 1000 feet of a school, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, Ecstasy, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Also at the time of the arrest, Principal Christopher Garran had police complete paperwork to keep Mohammadi away from the school. Garran signed this order on the spot to put it into immediate effect.

“I issued him a no-trespass order, which means he isn’t allowed on campus, even as an alumni,” said Garran.

Further investigation revealed that Mohammadi was using technology as a means for many of his deals with students.Many drug transactions were made via text massage with students during the school day to arrange locations, making it more difficult for the school to monitor and keep track of such activity.

“The police had Arian’s cell phone and found many student contacts and texts,” said Garran.

While Beaubien says security will be more observant of possible drug deals set up through texting, he admits that there is a limit to what the school and authorities can do to detect and stop this activity.

“I’d like to think that the majority of any communication was going on not while classes were going on. But we are only in so much control over that, and so are the teachers,” said Beaubien. “There’s one person with 30 other people in the class; it’s kind of hard to watch everybody’s activity.”

According to an anonymous student, Mohammadi solicited students to buy drugs from him. The anonymous student received a text message during seventh period on the day of the arrest from Mohammadi’s cell phone reading, “Hey, need nuggett??” Mohammadi used this phrase commonly when referring to marijuana transactions, according to the student. Several other students received the same message from Mohammadi’s phone the afternoon of the arrest, some with “Fwd:” in front of the original message. All who acknowledged receiving this text had heard of the arrest and declined the offer, believing that it was a set up.

Although this situation was very disappointing to Garran, security and others involved, drug deals come as no surprise to either Garran or Beaubien and security.

“Drug dealings are nothing new,” said Garran. “This has been the case for a long, long time. You can see it in just about any [school’s] campus.”

Beaubien also believes that there is a higher likelihood for drug deals to take place during school hours due to the convenience of G-Square.

“We do have a lot of people coming from the outside, not just students who recently graduated, but other older people interacting with the kids and everything, and that’s just something we have to keep an eye on,” said Beaubien. “If you’re dealing with people that don’t go to school here, then obviously it makes it easier for those people to deal drugs or whatever [because] they’re away from school, they obviously can’t come into the building.”

However, with years of experience monitoring G-Square during lunch, Beaubien doesn’t believe that all activity at G-Square is negative. He noted that most students use the privilege of open lunch to get away from school and take a break. Yet the security team made an interesting observation the day after news came out of Mohammadi’s arrest: G-Square attendance was about 50 percent of what it normally is, according to Beaubien.

“I have thoughts but no theories on why that is,” said Beaubien. “It was a nice day and everything else, but there were definitely half as many [students] as there usually are.”

Security plans to continue to be very observant of any activity threatening to students, as they always have been. Although security doesn’t generally target specific groups of students, Mohammadi’s arrest has made the team more aware of who is involved in such activities.

“I would say that we’ll just be that much more observant,” said Beaubien. “Obviously, without sounding ominous, we observe what’s going on so we know some of the people that were interacting with [Mohammadi]. If you put two and two together, you know that there’s other people being watched.”

Mohammadi is currently released on a $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is on Oct. 16, where he will face the four felonies against him.


CORRECTION
An earlier version of this article said that Principal Christopher Garran filled out paperwork to issue Arian Mohammadi a no-trespass order. While Garran requested that the police fill out this paperwork, he did not complete it himself, the police did. Garran then signed the no-trespass order on the spot.

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Abby Singley, Online Editor-in-Chief
Abby Singley was on the Pitch staff since her sophomore year, and as a senior, she was Online Editor-in-Chief and the Print Copy Chief in 2010-2011. The previous year, Abby was the first online editor-in-chief, and was also a copy editor during her sophomore and junior years. She is excited to be involved with the up-and-coming Pitch Online and help bring news to the WJ community in a faster, more innovative way. When not scanning the online administrator page or copy editing articles, Abby likes reading pop culture and news magazines and Web sites. Although she does not know where she is going to school yet, Abby will be entering college as a journalism major next year.
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