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Tainted brownies at Stonington High lead to 2 drug arrests

Stonington - A police investigation into the possibility that three students had eaten drug-laced brownies at Stonington High School last week has led to the arrest of two Pawcatuck residents.

As a result of their investigation into the source of what may have been in the brownies on Dec. 22, police obtained a search warrant that same day for the 30 Russell Ave. home of 50-year-old Robert Faillace. There, police found marijuana being grown and hash oil being produced.

Police seized more than 2 pounds of marijuana and 150 vials of hash oil valued at $15,000, along with drug paraphernalia, growing and packaging equipment and cash. Police then obtained two arrest warrants.

On Wednesday morning, Faillace turned himself in to police and was charged with cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia and operation of a drug factory. He was released on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on Jan. 7.

A few hours later, Diana Kelleher, 47, of 22 Field St., turned herself in and was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. She was released on a $5,000 bond and is slated to appear in court on Jan. 8.

Police declined to detail the relationship between Faillace and Kelleher except to say they are not married but do know each other. Police said they are not school employees. Town records show that they own the house at 30 Russell Ave. together.

Rhode Island records show that in 1981 Faillace was charged with manufacture or delivery of a Schedule I or II controlled substance and was sentenced to 24 months in prison, all but three of which were suspended, along with two years of probation. In 1984 that sentence was vacated. He then pleaded no contest and received a five-year suspended sentence and five years of probation.

Stonington police Capt. Jerry Desmond praised the work of the department's patrol officers and detectives for their quick work on the case as well as the cooperation of school officials.

He said the initial medical call about a student falling ill at the high school opened a door for police to develop the information and evidence they needed to make the two arrests.

"We consider this to be a significant arrest," Desmond said. "We were able to get a significant amount of drugs off the street."

Police initially responded to the school to investigate a report of a student who required medical attention after eating a brownie. They later determined that two other students had also eaten brownies from the same source.

He said police are continuing their investigation and more arrests are possible. The three students who police say ate the brownies have not been charged. None of the students needed to go to the hospital.

Desmond declined to say how the brownies got into the school, citing the ongoing investigation.

The episode recalled a 2004 incident at the school in which police arrested a student who they said had given a marijuana-laced brownie to a veteran teacher. The teacher ate the brownie and then began feeling the effects of the drug after he went home.

The teacher then went to the hospital and, suspecting what may have happened to him, had a blood test done. The test revealed marijuana in his system. The teacher reported the incident the next day to police.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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