Neil Scott, 25, and Timothy Brooks, 18, recruited and supplied dealers with marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and hash oil to sell to teens at five high schools in the tiny bedroom communities, authorities said.
A four-month investigation revealed the pair also hired students at Haverford, Gettysburg and Lafayette colleges to peddle drugs at those Pennsylvania schools, authorities said.
Scott and Brooks are graduates of The Haverford School, a $35,000-a-year private institution where both played lacrosse. They tapped their sports and social networks to help further their enterprise, officials said.
"They were using very traditional business principles," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said. "To take those skills and turn it into this kind of illegal enterprise is very distressing."
Scott, Brooks and several others arrested in the alleged ring were arraigned Monday on drug charges and related counts.
Scott's lawyer declined to comment, saying he hadn't yet reviewed the case.
Brooks' attorney, Greg Pagano, described his client as vulnerable and a bit depressed after leaving the University of Richmond last year due to an unnamed injury. Brooks lives at his family's home in Villanova.
"He, regrettably, lost his way," Pagano said. "His parents are devastated."
Scott, of Haverford, began selling pot after he moved back to the area last fall from San Diego, where he worked at a medical marijuana dispensary, officials said.
Scott told police that he needed money and figured he could make it by selling better marijuana than what was currently available in the area. He said that an unspecified California connection could supply him with high-quality pot, which he told police "would sell very well on the Main Line because everyone between 15 and 55 loves good weed," an investigator wrote in the affidavit.
Scott began having the drug mailed to Pennsylvania in late 2013 and called his operation the "Main Line Take Over Project," authorities said. Officials began an investigation in January based on a tip and eventually executed search warrants at nine locations.
Among the contraband they reported seizing was eight pounds of pot, more than $11,000, a loaded assault weapon, two other guns and equipment to manufacture hash oil. Scott has been in custody since February, held on $1 million bail.
Authorities didn't calculate the total value of the operation, but Scott told police he was making about $1,000 per week on marijuana alone, the affidavit said.
Ferman said the investigation continues. So far, eight suspects have been arrested, and authorities say at least three more are involved.
One suspect, a current student at The Haverford School, has been suspended indefinitely, said headmaster John Nagl. He said the alleged involvement of the student and two alums is "hugely disappointing."
"Those choices reflect badly on the values the school stands for," Nagl said. "They let down themselves and their families, who've made huge sacrifices to send them to this school."