Local News

October 9, 2012

Police: Student sold pot brownies at school

A Dalton High senior was arrested at the school Friday for selling marijuana-laced brownies to his fellow students, according to an incident report released Monday by the Dalton Police Department.

Hunter Chase Cleary, 18, of 539 Carbondale Road, was charged and booked into the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office jail on Friday afternoon under five counts, including felony counts of sale or intent to sale marijuana, possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of counterfeit substance. He was also booked under misdemeanor charges of possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and possession of alcohol by a minor.

Cleary, who has been the starting fullback for the Catamounts’ football team, was released on $5,000 bond on Friday evening and did not play in Dalton’s loss to Ridgeland High School that night.

Cleary did not immediately return telephone or Facebook messages left for him on Monday.

DPD officer Federico Nietzsche responded to a call from Dalton High assistant principal Steve Bartoo, who, according to the report, had been tipped off from a student that Cleary was selling the brownies at school. Bartoo questioned a female student who had allegedly bought a brownie from Cleary, and the female, who was not charged, admitted to buying a brownie for $10 and buying a second brownie for $15 for a friend.

Bartoo pulled Cleary from the cafeteria and questioned him, telling Nietzsche that Cleary admitted to having a bag of marijuana in his car in the school’s east parking lot. Bartoo searched the car and found a back of marijuana under the passenger seat and two bottles of beer in the trunk. It was then that Bartoo contacted the authorities.

Nietzsche responded and field tested the “bag of green leafy substance” and confirmed it was marijuana. He also found several plastic baggies which smelled of marijuana, and “one of the baggies had its corner ripped off in the manner of having been used for redistribution.” Also, the officer found a baggie containing a white powder substance that was packaged “as (a) typical narcotic item.” The powder did not field test positive for methamphetamine.

According to the report, Cleary admitted to the officer that the marijuana was his and the beers were also his. However, he denied the white powdery substance was his and then told the officer the car wasn’t his. The make and model of the car was not included in the report. Cleary was then arrested and taken to the Dalton Police Department. Once at the DPD offices, Cleary refused to answer questions, and Nietzsche placed him under arrest and took him to the Whitfield County jail.

In his questioning of the female student, Nietzsche viewed text messages on her cellphone between her and Cleary arranging the sale. In that text exchange, Nietzsche reported that Cleary told the student that he hoped he would still have some for her as he was bringing five for sale that day.

Dalton football coach Matt Land said on Monday that Cleary was not scheduled to play against Ridgeland after suffering a concussion earlier in the week. Senior Robert Hardaway started at fullback for the Cats.

“He is no longer on the team. I don’t even know if I can say that he is not on the team,” Land said. “At this time, he is not with the team. I don’t think I can technically make a ‘judgment’ on a player until they have their rights and tribunal and all that. At this time, he is not with our team.”

Cleary earned playing time with the Catamounts as a sophomore and was the starting fullback last season and this season. Coming into this past Friday night’s action, Cleary had been used primarily as a blocker for sophomore tailback Kelvis Rhodes. For the season, Cleary has 20 carries for 124 yards.

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