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Deputy passes as student, leads drug sting at school

An undercover officer attended classes at two high schools for six months in a sting that led to the arrest of 16 students on felony charges.

The unnamed deputy in his mid-20s passed as an 18-year-old and recorded who sold him drugs at school and after class.

Sixteen students were arrested at school Wednesday and charged with possession of ecstasy, unlawfully filling a prescription, sale and delivery of cocaine, and cultivation of marijuana. All were charged with at least one felony, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said at least three other students would be charged.

Sheriff Ken Mascara said the undercover Operation Safe Kid was a response to parents' complaints about schools.

The undercover deputy registered as a senior at Port St. Lucie High in the fall, then moved to St. Lucie West Centennial High at the holiday break. School superintendent Bill Vogel knew his identity.

Cocaine found in plane's food cart at Miami airport

MIAMI _ Police found $4-million worth of cocaine hidden in a food cart that came off an American Airlines flight at Miami International Airport.

The catering company that processes carts for the airline called authorities Thursday morning after discovering a cart that weighed more than it should have, said Miami-Dade police spokesman Lupo Jimenez.

About 22 pounds of cocaine in packets were hidden in the sides of the cart, Jimenez said. The packets were coated with an oil-based substance to throw police dogs off the scent, he added.

Jimenez said it is likely that an employee at either the airline or the catering company _ Gate Gourmet _ was involved.

Day care center's license suspended after arrest

JACKSONVILLE _ The license of a home day care center was suspended indefinitely after the second arrest of a family member on sex charges involving children.

The Florida Department of Children and Families delivered the suspension notice Tuesday to Calista Abel, the center's owner.

Abel's 31-year-old son, Christopher Michael Abel, was charged March 7 with capital sexual battery on a child, a 6-year-old boy.

A second charge of lewd and lascivious molestation was filed Tuesday after another alleged victim came forward, said Sgt. Mike Eason of the Jacksonville sheriff's sex crimes unit.

Abel, who was out on a $25,000 bail, is back in jail with bail set at $250,000.

_ Staff and wire reports

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