Newsin brief

Published on Thu, Feb 10, 2005
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News in brief

The Blaine school board has directed its legal counsel to undertake an independent investigation of the recent allegations against high school principal Dan Newell.

Newell was charged with two gross misdemeanors after he allegedly tipped off a former school board member, Deb Hart, that her daughter was about to be picked up in connection with marijuana smuggling on the Point Roberts school bus. Newell has pled not guilty to the charges.
In a letter to parents of high school students, Blaine school superintendent Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington stated the board felt it was important to have as many facts as possible. She also stated that assistant principal Scott Ellis has temporarily taken on some of the duties normally performed by Newell.

Former border officer Cory Whitfield, 36, of Point Roberts, has been sentenced to five years in federal prison and five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to the attempted smuggling of 535 pounds of marijuana through the Lynden border crossing.

Assistant United States Attorney Janet Freeman had argued for more than the minimum sentence, saying, “For every police officer who willingly links himself to the chain of drug smuggling, these criminal enterprises will continue to prosper and will continue to stand unaccountable to either nation.”

In imposing the mandatory minimum sentence Judge Ricardo Martinez pointed out that Whitfield was a Gulf War veteran “who had honorably served his country in the Navy and had no previous criminal history.” Defense counsel had requested a lower than minimum sentence but was turned down by Martinez, saying he was convinced Whitfield had failed to provide investigators with all information he had available to him.