Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2001
Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE)
Copyright: 2001 Omaha World-Herald Company
Author: Dave Morantz


Villisca, Iowa - A 9-year-old Villisca boy is in protective custody
after police arrested him for selling marijuana to three

The boy, whose name has not been released because of his age, took the
marijuana from his father, said Villisca Police Chief Butch Rulla. The
father was not charged with drug possession but could face charges
after the Iowa Human Services Department holds a hearing on the case
next month, Rulla said.

"I'm hoping we can get some rehabilitation and turn this kid around,"
Rulla said. "Nobody's talking about throwing away the key."

The Mother's Day arrest came after a mom picked up her telephone and
heard her 14-year-old son making a drug deal with the 9-year-old boy,
Rulla said. That afternoon, the younger boy sold three 14-year-olds 1
gram of marijuana for $50 in his back yard.

Police arrested the 9-year-old boy at home at 4 p.m. During a search
of the house where the boy and his dad live alone, the Villisca police
and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office found 12.5 grams of
marijuana and paraphernalia, Rulla said.

"Had it not been for this very attentive mother, we may never have
gotten this kid on the right track," he said.

The 14-year-old boy and two 14-year-old girls were not charged because
they helped in the case, Rulla said.

This was not the 9-year-old boy's first run-in with the law. Less than
a year ago, he was charged with aggravated assault for pulling a knife
on some children, Rulla said. He has also been cited for vandalism.
Rulla said the aggravated assault charge was suspended pending good
behavior. The boy now faces that charge and possession of marijuana
with delivery to a minor.

Rulla said the father did not appear to know that his son was dealing
marijuana or that he had taken marijuana from him. According to the
14-year-old's mother who called police, the children talked about
making the deal when the dad left or fell asleep, Rulla said.

"I think he was completely ignorant of what his son was doing," he

The 9-year-old boy was the youngest Rulla had arrested in 21 years of
law enforcement.

The case is still under investigation, Rulla said. Additional charges
against the boy or his father could come after the county attorney
reviews the case.

"Hopefully this gets people's attention that we've got a problem and
that we need to continue doing drug awareness programs," he said.

The arrest comes as Iowa crime statistics show that marijuana use
jumped 41 percent from 1995 to 1999.
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