Additional arrests in drug operation following Va. teen's murder

There are new details about a major drug bust in Prince William County. The undercover operation began months after a 16-year-old was murdered in what he thought was supposed to be a drug buy. Instead, he was robbed and killed near Woodbridge High School. FOX 5's Alexandra Limon has more details.

Operation "Growing Pains" was a countywide effort to fight drug use in Prince William County. It specifically targeted younger users like teenagers and young adults and the drugs they prefer -- such as marijuana, mushrooms and concentrated marijuana known as "wax."

The operation was sparked by the murder of a 16-year-old Woodbridge High School student nearby the school in November.

"There have been a lot of problems with drugs in this area," said Debra Smallwood, the mother of a student at the school. "So it's good that they are getting a bit of a handle on some of it."

The operation landed 19 people behind bars on drug charges as of last Friday afternoon, including six students from Patriot, Gar-Field and Osbourne high schools.

Additional arrests were announced this week. All suspects wanted were taken into custody as of Wednesday, police said.

Drugs, weapons and money were seized by investigators, and though the operation did not happen on school grounds, the drug ring revolved around high schools in Prince William County catering to teenagers.

"I'm appalled," said parent Cheryl Kyles. "I didn't know … That's scary to know."

None of the six students arrested so far attended Woodbridge High School, but the "Growing Pains" sting stemmed from the murder of 16-year-old Brenden Wilson, who was killed in a setup where the suspects lured him in with a drug deal intending to rob him and ended up killing him.

"I think it was kind of a wake up call to parents," said Smallwood.

"See what had to happen in order for them to do it? That's the scary part," said Kyles.

A Woodbridge High School student said the principal made an announcement at school about the bust.

"I am relieved because I don't like drugs," said Angel Jones, a sophomore student at Woodbridge. "I grew up around it and it's just terrible and bad."

In all, police served four search warrants and had warrants for 26 suspects. But they also offered drug rehab services to suspects who wanted them and emphasize preventing drug use with teenagers begins at home and they urge parents to be involved.

MOBILE USERS CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF THE SUSPECTS


Related story: Officers hope to teach teens dangers of drug abuse following 'Operation Growing Pains'

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