Teen Drug Dealer Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking Charges

Tyler Pagenstecher, a 17-year-old from Cincinnati, pleaded guilty to drug-trafficking charges. He admitted to participating in a ring that sold nearly $20,000 per month of high-grade marijuana to students in his neighborhood. He faced two felony counts of drug trafficking. He was charged as a juvenile.

Sold Marijuana to High School Students

The majority of the buyers attended Mason High and Kings High, located about 20 miles from Cincinnati. These schools are highly ranked, drawing high-achieving students from well-off suburban neighborhoods. Leslie Philpot, a friend of Pagenstecher, said that she and many of their classmates knew that he smoked marijuana. Although he never openly stated he was a drug dealer, he would allude to the fact that he had plenty of money and did not need to get a real job. She said that he came across as an average high school student and never drew attention to himself.

Pagenstecher attended Mason High School. The school’s superintendent said that school officials routinely conduct drug sweeps, provide drug prevention programs and employ a school resource officer in order to discourage student drug use. School officials were unaware that Pagenstecher had been selling drugs to students at the high school.

Pagenstecher was represented by his attorney Michael O’Neill. Judge Michael Powell presided over the hearing. Powell put Pagenstecher on house arrest until his sentencing hearing next month. He will also be subject to random drug screening. He was scheduled to begin his senior year of high school just three weeks after this hearing.

Pagenstecher lives with his mother and 20-year-old brother. Investigators found no evidence to suggest that his mother knew anything about her son’s role as a drug dealer.

Pagenstecher will be sentenced on September 18. At this hearing, a judge could order him to be held until he turns 21.

Drug Ring Led by Seven Adults

Although the drug ring was led by adults, Pagenstecher was responsible for managing six teenagers who helped to sell the drugs. These teenagers were arrested along with the seven adults who ran the ring.

Pagenstecher stated that the drug ring had strict rules against selling marijuana at the school because the penalties would be severe. Because the drugs were never sold on school property, he was able to escape the scrutiny of law enforcement for years.

The adults’ ages ranged from 20 to 58. They allegedly grew marijuana plants under artificial lights in nearby homes and a furniture warehouse. Their high-grade marijuana plants sold for $5,000 per pound. They are facing multiple charges including cultivating, possessing and trafficking marijuana. They could face lengthy sentences in prison.

When informants clued the task force in to Pagenstecher’s business, undercover officers were able to purchase drugs from him on several occasions between August 2011 and January 2012. A year-long investigation eventually led the task force to the suspects who were allegedly responsible for growing large amounts of high-grade hydroponic marijuana. They seized hundreds of marijuana plants valued at approximately $3 million. Drug paraphernalia, a digital scale and $6,000 in cash was found in Pagenstecher’s bedroom. A bag of marijuana was found in Pagenstecher’s shirt pocket.

John Burke, the commander of the task force, claims that Pagenstecher is the most successful drug trafficker he has found in his jurisdiction. Burke stated that Pagenstecher began dealing drugs when he was just 15.

Erin Moore is a firm believer in abiding by the laws of the land, including the right to a proper criminal defense

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