NBCPhiladelphia.com - David Hall
David Hall provides more information in the developing child drug carriers case.
Five people are in custody for possession of narcotics, including the parents of two children who police say were used as drug carriers.
Police first stopped Rodney Saunders, 39, and Christopher Lewis, 29, along the 4000 block of Island Avenue.
Police say that the two men were driving a rental car with no lights on.
They allegedly found 13 pounds of marijuana as well as $5000 in cash inside the car.
Saunders reportedly told police that his nine-year-old and ten-year-old sons were staying at a Marriot Hotel. When police arrived at the hotel, they found the two boys as well as another $5000 in cash.
Police then say that the ten-year-old boy's mother Senya Saunders, 39, arrived at the hotel where police questioned her. She was then released and left with the two boys while Rodney Saunders and Lewis were taken into custody.
Investigators then followed Senya to a house on South 56th Street in South Philadelphia. Narcotics detectives conducted surveillance of the home.
Later on during the day, authorities say that they spotted Somer Pugh, 33 leaving the home.
Investigators say that they found drug paraphernalia on her after stopping her. Shortly after that, police say that Senya Saunders ordered her daughter Neiya Rawlerson, 19, the nine-year-old boy and the ten-year-old boy to leave the home.
“We stopped everyone, searched them for everyone’s protection and we were astonished to find in the backpacks of these very young juveniles a total of seven pounds of marijuana,” said Scott Small, Chief Inspector of the Philadelphia Police.
Police believe that the two children were used as “mules” or drug carriers.
Rodney Saunders, Christopher Lewis, Senya Saunders, Neiya Rawlerson and Somer Pugh were all arrested.
In all, police confiscated 9080 grams of marijuana with a street value of $90,800 as well as $10,476 in cash.
They also found one handgun as well as drug paraphernalia.
Police also say that Somer Pugh was a school officer. A spokesperson for the Philadelphia School District claims that she was a per diem employee.
The two children are now in the custody of the Department of Human Services while the five people charged remain in police custody.