TODAY

TODAY   |  April 23, 2014

Lawyer: Prep school drug dealer ‘lost his way’

Eleven suspects have been arrested in a Philadelphia-area drug ring whose goal, prosecutors say, was to take over the drug trade at local schools. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

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>>> let's begin this half-hour with fallout from a major drug ring bust in pennsylvania that authorities say stretched across some of the state's top prep schools and colleges. nbc's stephanie gosk is here with more. stephanie , good morning.

>> good morning, natalie. 11 suspects have been arrested, all former or current prep school kids. prosecutors say they were all part of a drug ring that's goal was to conquer the local drug trade . prosecutors say they called themselves the main line takeover project.

>> get the [ bleep ] out of my face.

>> reporter: and their inventory, that of budding drug lords .

>> eight pounds of marijuana. three grams of hash oil. 23 grams of cocaine. 11 grams of ecstasy.

>> reporter: what prosecutors say they seized also included several firearms, one of them a loaded assault rifle , which they displayed next to a lacrosse stick . in a school bag, homework of sorts. true crime books about major drug rings.

>> this was not a game. these people were in business.

>> reporter: prosecutors say the alleged ringleader, 25-year-old neil scott , taught 18-year-old timothy brooks the tricks of the trade. brooks then supervised sub dealers in five high schools .

>> high school subdealers were encouraged to develop their business so that they could sell at least one pound of marijuana each week.

>> reporter: investigators say text messages show how brooks encouraged dealers to make sure the supply of pot never ran dry. brooks , new that will never happen for the rest of my life, 'cause i got you. scott, we will crush it. once you go tax-free, it's hard to go back. brooks , this last week has made me realize how much i love money. authorities say the pair were former students at the haverford school and used their connections there and as youth lacrosse coaches to recruit. the other suspects include seven adults and two juveniles. prosecutors say they plan to carve out a monopoly of drug sales at some of the area's most prestigious schools. brooks ' attorney says his client is ready to admit blame, while also blaming a lacrosse injury for the teen's involvement.

>> he had that surgery, he had to withdraw from school. he regrettably lost his way.

>> scott is being held on $1 million bail. his attorney had no comment. all the others, including brooks , are out on bail. the next court date is set for next month. natalie?

>> thank you, stephanie gosk.