Suspect allegedly hid bag with pot on school grounds

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FARMINGTON — A Kirtland Central High School student told a San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy he accidentally brought a paper bag containing plastic bags of marijuana to school.

Benson Begay Jr., 18, of Kirtland, was arrested and accused of a third-degree felony count of distribution of marijuana (within a drug-free school zone), according to the probable cause statement.

He is accused of having a paper bag with three small plastic bags which each contained a "greeny, leafy" substance identified as marijuana on school grounds.

Begay's attorney John Beckstead did not respond to requests for comment.

A deputy for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was contacted by another deputy around 10:22 a.m. on March 7 on a report of a student possibly having marijuana on school property.

Begay allegedly was spotted by a teacher throwing something under a vehicle in the parking lot. When a deputy checked under the vehicle, the bag with the marijuana was found.

Begay spoke to a deputy, stating he had no intention of distributing the marijuana at school.

While speaking to the deputy, Begaye said he bought the marijuana at the "college" the day before and forgot to take it out of his backpack and accidentally brought it to school.

He continued by stating he hid the marijuana on school grounds earlier in the day when a lockout occurred. When the lockout was lifted, he said he retrieved the marijuana and carried it outside.

Begay allegedly threw the marijuana under the vehicle before trying to retrieve his backpack from the school's office.

When he went into the office, school personnel stopped him.

He was released around 3:55 p.m. on March 8 from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center. according to court documents.

His preliminary hearing is set for the morning of March 29 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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