April 5, 2019

Student Arrested by Oxford Police for Selling Baked Goods Containing Drugs

Oxford police arrested Talawanda High School student Joshua Shrader and charged him with trafficking in hashish on March 27 after he allegedly sold baked goods containing the substance to two other students in the school locker room.

According to the police report, the 18-year-old brought out the baked goods (“a mixture of brownies and cookies in a circular cupcake liner”) during fifth period in the boys’ locker room. Two students, whose names were redacted by police because they are juveniles, purchased the edibles, according to the report.

One student, who purchased a single item, ate the entire thing shortly after the purchase, according to the report. The other student reportedly bought two items, ate half of one, put the rest in his backpack and eventually ended up in Assistant Principal Molly Merz’s office.

Merz had received a tip about the student’s possession of an illegal substance and called him down to her office. After she searched his backpack and located the baked goods, the report states, the student told Merz how he and the other student had obtained the brownie/cookies from Shrader.

Merz alerted Officer Richard Butler, the school resource officer at Talawanda, that she “had come into possession of what she believed to be baked goods containing illegal drugs,” according to the police report.

Butler reported that the baked goods “emitted a strong odor of marijuana.” The student “confirmed that he expected the baked goods to contain illegal drugs when he purchased them,” and affirmed that Shrader was promised payment from both individuals by the end of the week—$10 for the single item and $20 for the two, according to the report.

Eventually, the other student who purchased and ate the edible was called down to Merz’s office, along with Shrader. Shrader told Butler that he intentionally brought the drug-laced food to school, but that he did not bake them himself. He also “denied having any other illegal drugs or products containing illegal drugs with him.”

The student who consumed the entire brownie was not charged. The student who ate some and put the rest in his backpack was cited for possession of controlled substances because of the combined weight of the baked good and illegal drugs, which totaled about 87 grams.

Shrader, whose home address was listed on the report as 553 Skodborg Dr., Eaton, was charged with trafficking in drugs “due to the weight of the product and its occurrence in the vicinity of the school,” the report states.

Under Ohio law, trafficking hashish in amounts between 50 and 200 grams “in the vicinity of a school or in the vicinity of a juvenile ... is a felony of the second degree, and there is a presumption that a prison term shall be imposed for the offense.” However, trafficking in marijuana amounting to less than 200 grams is a fourth-degree felony when near a school or juvenile. Hashish is made from the resin of the cannabis, or marijuana, plant and is a concentrated form of the same substance.

Similarly, possession of marijuana “or a compound, mixture, preparation, or substance containing marihuana” according to the state code, is a lesser offense than possession of hashish. It is not clear how officers decided to charge the students for possessing and trafficking in hashish rather than marijuana.

Oxford Police Lt. Lara Fening said police probably will need Shrader’s cooperation to discover where he obtained the baked goods and hashish.

“We’re gonna keep our ears and eyes open and try to figure that out, but I don’t know that it’s going to go anywhere without his help,”  Fening said.

Fening said her daughter attends Talawanda High School, and that while situations like this are “not a normal occurrence,” her daughter and other students at Talawanda High School “disturbingly” don’t seem surprised by the event.

“There’s drug activity that they (students) are far more aware of than us,” Fening said. “Not everything is brought to the police, though, so there may be any number of incidents that are contained just within the school and their interdisciplinary process and not referred to us.”

Shrader spent the night in Butler County Jail on March 27, but was released on his own recognizance the next day after an initial appearance in Butler County Area Court I. The case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 11.

Police also confiscated cell phones from the students who were charged, as well as $34 in cash from Shrader as potential evidence, according to the report.

Holli Morrish, spokesperson for Talawanda School District, declined to say what, if any, school disciplinary action any of the students involved might face.