Three middle school students arrested on conspiracy charges - FOX 13 News

Three middle school students arrested on conspiracy charges

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LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

Three middle school students face serious charges after police say they were planning to cause "chaos" at their school.

Two have been arrested; one is in the hospital and has been served with a warrant, FOX 13's Josh Cascio reported from a Lakeland Police Department news conference.

The student in the hospital is being held under Florida's Baker Act, a law that allows someone to be involuntarily committed for psychiatric evaluation, and examined for up to three days.

The students are charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery, and conspiracy to construct destructive devices. They are two girls and a boy, ages 12 and 13, police said.

The arrests may have averted a potential crisis at Sleepy Hill Middle School, the Lakeland Police Department said Friday.

Police say they were contacted by the school on April 2 about "disturbing" information in a student's notebook. Investigators say the kids' plans to build and set off explosives unraveled when a guidance counselor found writings in one of the girls' notebooks.

The counselor contacted a resource officer, who then called in detectives.

"There was quite a bit of corroborating material discovered," said Capt. Greg Policastro.

It's unclear what types of explosive devices they wanted to build, and police say they doubt the teens would have had the means to do it.

The investigation began, and the findings were turned over to the state attorney's office, which decided to move forward with the case.

"I think we were very fortunate, because if they were able to acquire some of the materials, they could have harmed themselves just by trying to experiment on that, trying to assemble the device," said Captain Greg Policastro, with the Lakeland Police Department.

Police say they don't believe any other students were involved.

The three students will be charged with felonies, but will not be charged as adults. Detectives say the students are cooperating with the investigation.

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