Meth, cocaine found in searches

News editor

A child taking a syringe to Marion Elementary School led to the drug and child endangerment arrests of two Marion residents Monday.

Ninety minutes after school officials reported the syringe, which Police Chief Tyler Mermis said tested positive for methamphetamines, a search warrant was obtained for the child’s home at 319 S. Cedar St.

Mermis didn’t know why the child took the syringe to school. School administrators declined to comment on why the syringe was taken to school or how it was discovered.

Police reported finding a few grams methamphetamines, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.

Shanna Zampieri, 42, and Robert Hicks, 22, were arrested on possession and child endangerment charges. Five children were taken into protective custody. They await placement, Mermis said Thursday. Zampieri and Hicks remained in jail without bond on Friday.

It wasn’t the only drug case Marion police made arrests on recently. In an unrelated case, two additional children were taken into protective custody and placed with family members after two other Marion residents were arrested April 19 on charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Mike and Chelsea Darrow, ages 28 and 27 respectively, were arrested after a search of their home at 502 S. Freeborn St.

Chelsea Darrow was released the same day, and Mike Darrow was released the next day, both on $2,500 bond.

The children taken into custody in the two cases were between the ages of 2 and 17.

Despite an official request from this newspaper under the Kansas Open Records Act, police initially refused Tuesday to release the names of those arrested.

An earlier story said that eight rather than seven children had been taken into protective custody in the two cases. The error was because of a lapse in memory by Mermis, who wasn’t looking at the files at the time.

Names of those arrested were obtained from the Marion County Jail roster, which under state law is freely available for inspection by reporters and members of the general public.

The roster was inspected after the newspaper contacted a Topeka attorney retained by the Kansas Press Association to help ensure open access by the media and public to government meetings and records.

This story updates a version published in our April 24 edition.

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