Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 23, 2012

Dad jailed after drugs discovered in child’s backpack

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Florida man landed in jail after 3 ounces of marijuana was found in his child’s backpack at school by a teacher.

According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, an unidentified 6-year-old asked a kindergarten teacher to “Look what I got” in a backpack. Upon looking into the backpack, the teacher found the marijuana and a weight scale, leading school officials to call law enforcement.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested the child’s father, Larry Cornelius Stephens, 25, on Thursday afternoon and charged him with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and child abuse.

According to police, Stephens placed the marijuana and scale in the child’s backpack before dropping off the child around 8:30 a.m. Within 10 minutes, the child had shown the paraphernalia to a teacher and the school’s principal then called the police. Stephens showed up a short time later to retrieve the drugs, but it had already been confiscated by law enforcement.

Stephens told law enforcement the drugs were for his “personal use,” but police said the amount of drugs and possession of the scale indicated intent to sell. Law enforcement is still unclear whether or not Stephens realized he had left the drugs in the child’s backpack.

State records revealed Stephens has a long history with drugs, having been released from prison for possessing and selling cocaine 72 days before his arrest on marijuana charges.

Law enforcement did not release the name or gender of the child, who is now in the mother’s custody. Florida’s Department of Children and Families was also notified about the incident.