Eight Port High students in trouble with the law after knifing, search of apartment
Eight Port Washington High School students ages 15 to 17 are in trouble with the law after a stabbing last week on a rural gravel road led authorities to a Port Washington apartment where one of the teens was selling marijuana, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court Monday.
The only teenager charged as an adult is Joseph A. Gordon, 17, of Port Washington, who faces felony counts of manufacturing/delivering marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, as well as one misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The other seven teenagers have been referred to juvenile court for charges that range from reckless injury to delivery and possession of marijuana, according to Lt. Rodney Galbraith of the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department, who is in charge of the county’s Anti-Drug Task Force.
According to the criminal complaint, one of the teenagers told authorities that after classes on Thursday, March 6, which was a half-day of school for students, he picked up three of the teens and drove to Gordon’s apartment. They all chipped in money, and one of the teens went into the apartment to buy marijuana.
He said the four of them then drove to Lovers Lane Road in the Town of Port Washington and smoked the marijuana. That’s where the stabbing occurred.
The teenager said one of the 15-year-old boys threw a knife that wounded another 15-year-old in the neck, the complaint states. Three of the teenagers, including the injured boy, drove away and got as far as Nisleit’s Country Inn restaurant on Highland Drive in the Town of Port, where they stopped and called for help.
Authorities found two of the teenagers, including the injured boy, at the restaurant, along with a small amount of marijuana that one of them had thrown away.
The injured teenager was taken to a hospital. He has since been released, authorities said.
The boy accused of the stabbing, who was left behind on Lovers Lane Road, was arrested. He was charged with the stabbing in a juvenile delinquency petition filed in court this week, Galbraith said.
The information from the teenagers led authorities to Gordon’s apartment on East Woodruff Street, which they searched on Friday, March 7.
There they found two 16-year-old girls and a boy the same age, as well as Gordon. The apartment was redolent of marijuana, according to the complaint.
In Gordon’s bedroom, authorities found a McDonald’s cup full of marijuana, a scale, grinder, multiple pipes and a marijuana bong, the complaint states.
More than $990 in cash was found in the pockets of Gordon’s clothing, according to the complaint.
Authorities also found Suboxone, which is typically used to treat addiction to opiate drugs. Gordon said his mother, who “mostly stays with her boyfriend in Milwaukee,” uses Suboxone, the complaint states.
“We’re certainly looking into the lack of supervision here and whether it meets the standards of a criminal offense,” Galbraith said.
Judge Paul Malloy on Monday said Gordon could be released from jail in lieu of a $1,000 signature bond and ordered him to observe a 7 p.m. curfew and not have contact with the other teenagers involved in the case.
Galbraith said the case is more concerning than a typical marijuana bust for a several reasons.
“First we have 15 and 16-year-olds driving around smoking marijuana, then a stabbing,” he said. “Then we serve a search warrant and find an unsupervised 17-year-old who is obviously dealing marijuana with 15 and 16-year-olds in the apartment.
“A case like this involving adults is one thing, but these were just 15 and 16-year-olds.”
The fact the teenagers are accused of smoking marijuana instead of using a harder drug like heroin doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the case, Galbraith said.
“To the folks who don’t think this is a big deal, we’re finding that kids who use marijuana are the ones at risk to turn to harder drugs like opiates,” he said. “I’m not saying that will happen to any of these kids, but we’ve seen it in other cases. Hopefully we prevented that in this case.”
Galbraith said there is no evidence suggesting any of the drug activity occurred on school property.
“But we’ve been aware of school-age kids in Port who are involved in drugs, so this doesn’t surprise me,” he said.
Port Washington-Saukville School Supt. Michael Weber said although the recent incidents didn’t occur on school grounds, where students know there is zero tolerance for drugs, it is nonetheless “disappointing” that teenagers chose to smoke marijuana outside of school.
“It’s very unfortunate because we have such great kids,” he said. “Things like this happen, and that’s disappointing, but we have to celebrate the good and find ways to help those who are struggling.
“I realize this was ‘just marijuana,’ but that can be a precursor to more serious drugs, which is very concerning.”