Crime & Courts

School employees find package of meth hidden in village food shipment

800px-Wainwright[PHOTO.63457 - 8/17/2011 14:40:54]

Employees at the Wainwright village school were beginning to prepare a meal for students this week when they discovered one of the containers of food looked suspicious, as if the seal had been broken. Inside, says school district superintendent Stewart McDonald, was methamphetamine.

The discovery of drugs among freight shipped to the school was first made Tuesday morning, according to the North Slope Borough School District. The district announced the discovery Friday on social media, saying there is no sign that any student food was contaminated.

McDonald said the drugs had been smuggled inside a “big, oatmeal cylinder-type container." North Slope Borough police tested the package and determined it was meth. Police are investigating, working to determine who sent the package and where it originated, McDonald said.

“It’s made me and every other leader I know furious that somebody had the arrogance to think that they could move a drug through our school freight and we are cracking down at every level,” the superintendent said.

The borough health department is sending an officer to inspect the school kitchen and all food, according to the district. An initial inspection found no signs of food contamination and classes are expected to continue normally.

“The biggest issue around here is people were fearing that something was found in a way that could potentially contaminate food for students,” McDonald said. He said the district planned to place all incoming and outgoing freight under “very tight supervision.”

Wainwright is a community of about 557 people above the Arctic Circle, More than 140 students, from pre-kindergarten to high school, attend the Alak School where the package was found, according to the district website.

Kyle Hopkins

Kyle Hopkins is special projects editor of the Anchorage Daily News. He was the lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Lawless" project and is part of an ongoing collaboration between the ADN and ProPublica's Local Reporting Network. He joined the ADN in 2004 and was also an editor and investigative reporter at KTUU-TV. Email