Our best schools prepare young men and women for success in the business world with a classical education, but two men from a prestigious prep school in Pennsylvania tried cornering the drug market instead — and not pharmaceuticals. Neil Scott and Timothy Brooks masterminded a drug ring that attempted to control the trade in prep schools and colleges throughout the region, but turned out to be classically inept, as well as dangerous:

Two young men, a bunch of subordinates, one master plan: Take over the drug trade at some of Pennsylvania’s best schools.

Authorities announced Tuesday that they were able to foil this ambitious effort — unearthing marijuana, hash oil, cocaine, ecstasy (or MDMA, its active ingredient) as well as cash and several weapons — and arrest the pair allegedly at the center of it, among others.

“They were in business to make money, and they were going to do whatever they needed to do to make sure that no one threatened their business,” Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

She was speaking primarily of the main suspects, 25-year-old Neil Scott and 18-year-old Timothy Brooks, behind what they allegedly called the “Main Line Take-Over Project” — the Main Line referring to a group of affluent towns and cities outside Philadelphia.

How did they decide to take over the trade? Well, enforcement was apparently part of the business plan:

The goal: control the marijuana trade at local high schools and colleges in the picturesque, wealthy corridor of towns known as the Main Line.

They enlisted local students to act as dealers, pushing them to sell at least one pound of marijuana a week, prosecutors said. During an investigation into the operation this year, detectives seized marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and several weapons, including a loaded assault rifle and a semiautomatic pistol, according to the Montgomery County district attorney’s office. …

Prosecutors said that the marijuana was shipped in bulk to Mr. Scott from a supplier in California. Mr. Brooks allegedly told the dealers that it was important to make sure there was a constant supply of marijuana in each school because he remembered it was not always easy to buy marijuana when he was in high school.

This case will take on some significant cultural weight in terms of prosecution and sentencing, assuming convictions result from this bust. Will these well-to-do youth get the same kind of treatment for this activity as others from less-privileged backgrounds might expect? Or will we see another claim of “affluenza” as a mitigating circumstance to let them off the hook?

Here’s another question to ponder, more philosophical than legal or even political. If the best schools in the country can’t form young people in terms of values and ethics any better than this, than what will? Is a $35,000 education only good for which college opportunities and business connections it unlocks? There will always be bad apples, of course, but this appears to be at least a little more significant.