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Continued: St. Paul middle-schoolers may have thought meth was candy

"This is an opportunity to talk to your kids about drugs," she said.

Girl admits guilt

The student who gave out the meth appears to know what she was doing. She pleaded guilty in juvenile court to second-degree sale of a controlled substance. While she was arrested for giving it away, the crime still is considered a "sale," a Ramsey County spokeswoman said.

St. Paul police searched the girl's home Tuesday and found additional crystal meth -- about 2 grams, said police spokesman Tom Walsh. That's considered a "small amount," Walsh said, most often for personal use. "When you're talking about somebody who sells, you're going to have a lot more than 2 grams," he said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, police had made no more arrests in the case. But, when asked if more arrests are pending, Walsh said, "I would hope."

The girl faces an uncertain future, according to prosecutors. Ordinarily, passing out such a small amount of drugs would be a third-degree crime, said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. But passing out drugs at school ratchets up the offense.

Still, juvenile courts have a lot of flexibility in handing down a sentence. There are no sentencing guidelines, said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Much will ride on the girl's background -- has she been in trouble before, has she been truant, does she hang out with the wrong kids? The fact that the girl apparently brought the drugs from home could mean trouble for her family as well, Freeman said. And it could mean that child protection workers become involved.

"Whoever is at the home, the mother or the father or both, not only could they be charged for the drugs, but maybe with endangering a minor," he said.

ppheifer@startribune.com • 651-298-1551

jwalsh@startribune.com • 651-298-1541

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