Sting operation reminiscent of '21 Jump Street' nets 6 arrests in Pearland high schools

PEARLAND, TX -- A sting operation reminiscent of the TV show and movie "21 Jump Street" at two area high schools has led to the arrest of six students, four adults and two children.

The arrests come after a months-long investigation at Pearland High School and Glenda Dawson High School. Sheriff's deputies say they were asked by Pearland ISD to go into both schools.

"I believe they were trying to benchmark and test the progress they've made by putting measures they have in place to test where they are at," said Sgt. James Brawner with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office.

From August to March that undercover officer bought drugs from some students both on and off campus. The operation netted six arrests. A total of 10 charges were filed, ranging from delivery of marijuana to delivery of a controlled substance and delivery of a dangerous drug. Authorities say the narcotics seized during the investigation were cocaine, marijuana, Alprazolam and Tramadol.

"The school isn't a place for that, it's a place for education," Sgt. Brawner said.

Investigators released the mug shots of the students all of adult age. At Pearland High School, Aaron Coleman, 18, is charged with delivery of a dangerous drug. At Dawson High School Kevin Lambert, 18, and Jonathan Gonzales, 17, are charged with delivery of marijuana. Matthew Van Richardson, 18, is charged with delivery of a controlled substance.

Students are reacting to the news an undercover officer posed as a high school student.

Justin Garza says, "It will keep us safe. They are there for a reason."

On Thursday, students learned one of their so-called classmates was part of a drug investigation.

"Me, personally, I don't really do anything wrong but for others they might be nervous," says student Gene Harris.

Classmate Taylor Demery adds, "Why would people at this age sell drugs when you have your whole life ahead of you?"

Kim Hocott, Director of Communications for Pearland ISD released this statement:

Through joint efforts with the Brazoria County Sherriff's Department Narcotics Division and the Pearland Police Department, Pearland ISD participated in a narcotics operation resulting in the arrest of six high school students on Thursday morning, April 2.

As part of the district's ongoing efforts to provide a safe and drug-free educational environment, Pearland ISD initiated the investigation. An undercover narcotics officer from the Brazoria County Sherriff's Department was placed at Dawson and Pearland high schools, spending four months at each school.

"I appreciate the collaborative efforts of the county and city to safeguard the lives of our students through a combination of law enforcement and preventive measures. It is critical that we remain proactive, vigilant and intolerant with regard to drug offenses affecting our students," said Superintendent Dr. John P. Kelly.

Pearland ISD is committed to providing safe and drug-free schools for our students and staff. Some of our continued efforts include:
Conducting frequent and random searches with drug-detecting dogs
Providing an anonymous way for people to share concerns through Crime Stoppers
Educating students about the negative effects of drugs and alcohol
Providing counseling and referrals for students struggling with drug/alcohol problems
Ensuring students understand school and district policies, as well as legal penalties for using/selling drugs

All Pearland ISD campuses are drug-free zones. No student shall possess, use, transmit, or be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol on school premises or at school-related activities.

For more information regarding the narcotics operation and arrests, contact the Brazoria County Sherriff's Department Narcotics Division at 281-756-2251.