NORTH READING (CBS) – Police seized weapons and thousands of dollars in drugs from a 17-year-old who was allegedly using Snapchat to sell marijuana in North Reading.
The Lynnfield resident, whose name was not released because he is a juvenile, was charged with possession with intent to district a Class C substance, unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The investigation began March 6 when North Reading Police received a tip that the 17-year-old was arranging to sell and deliver THC oil in town through Snapchat. Officers contacted the suspect and arranged to buy THC vaping cartridges from him.
After meeting with the suspect in a parking lot, officers approached him. Police say that when they identified themselves, the teenager refused commands and reached toward his waistband. When he was restrained, the suspect was searched and police found a loaded 9mm handgun.
North Reading Police Chief Michael Murphy said the arrest could have played out differently.
“In this instance, we have a child committing a very adult crime. The suspect arranged to meet who he thought was a drug customer, and he was armed with a loaded handgun for the occasion,” Murphy said. “There are countless ways in which this scenario could have turned out worse, had it not been for the calm reactions and professionalism of our North Reading Police Officers, but it should be a startling wake up call for everyone who does not fully appreciate the unintended consequences of marijuana commercialization.”
The gun was seized along with ammunition and the $4,000 worth of THC oil, which exceeds the legal limits in Massachusetts.
Murphy said the arrest is a sign of a larger issue in North Reading and beyond.
“This case is a heavily-anticipated consequence of the current state of marijuana regulation and availability,” said Murphy. “Police have warned about, and are now observing across countless communities, the rise in youth marijuana use and the skyrocketing popularity of smokeless, sometimes odorless THC concentrate in vape devices. A profitable black market has been created, with easily available products getting into the hands of minors all across Massachusetts.
The 17-year-old will be arraigned in juvenile court.