Cole Snyder

Cole Snyder of Ronan High School

is seen during the state wrestling tournament.

Hannah Potes, Billings Gazette

RONAN – Lortab, a prescription narcotic pain reliever, is the drug that authorities allege at least one Ronan High School student was selling on and off school property this winter, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

The drug was identified in an affidavit involving the case against Cole Snyder, the only one of 10 arrested Ronan students who is at least 18, and legally considered an adult.

The other cases were referred to Youth Court.

In addition to criminal distribution of dangerous drugs, Snyder – who won a Class B-C state wrestling championship in Billings the night before his arrest – is also charged with sexual abuse of children.

The documents allege that Snyder “had been manipulating a 15-year-old girl to provide him with nude pictures of herself, which she sent via Snapchat.”

All the arrested students are apparently still enrolled in school. Disciplinary action on half of them was decided by school administrators, and the other half had to appear before the Ronan School Board.

Over the course of a 7 1/2-hour board meeting that started on March 11 and lasted into the wee hours of March 12, those five were all readmitted to school.

Three were readmitted immediately, one more was allowed to return on March 17, and the last of the five resumed classes Monday.

In all five cases, the board went against school administrators, who recommended long-term suspensions for three of them, and expulsions for the other two.

***

Court papers filed by Lake County Attorney Steve Eschenbacher say Snyder was interviewed by Dan Yonkin of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 15, the day of his arrest.

Snyder waived his right to remain silent and told Yonkin he had asked a friend for a pain reliever, and the friend had provided him with Lortab, the documents say.

“Later, another friend in high school offered to sell the defendant some more Lortabs,” the affidavit continues. “These were from the friend’s legitimate prescription. (Snyder) then started to buy and sell Lortabs to other high school students.”

Eschenbacher said the period of selling drugs lasted approximately the three weeks leading up to Snyder’s arrest, and “they had exhausted the prescription from the friend who had first provided the pills.”

Regarding the sexual abuse of children charge, the court documents say Snapchat, a social networking service, “apparently has a default program that will delete photographs after a certain amount of time, but the victim in this case confirmed that (Snyder) had requested the photos and that she had provided him with them.”

Snyder and others were arrested when the team returned from the Montana State Wrestling Championships in Billings. Snyder had pinned Garret White of Eureka in 4:52 to win the 126-pound B-C title.

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