The 12 Wildest School Drug Cases In 2014 (So Far)

By McCarton Ackerman 08/06/14

We still have plenty of 2014 left, but numerous drug cases involving both students and teachers have already happened this year. Here are some of the most memorable ones.


City Schools Officer Facing Prison After Drug Conspiracy Admission

A police officer who had been working for public schools in the city of Baltimore has now found himself on the other side of the law.

Napoleon McLain Jr., 31, is guaranteed to spend the next five years in prison and could spend as many as 40 years behind bars after pleading guilty to federal drug conspiracy charges. The disgraced cop admitted last month to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine base, as well as drug possession. 

An undercover source working with authorities purchased the drugs from McLain on four separate occasions between December 2012 and August 2013. Approximately 150 grams of crack were sold to him, which has a street value of $9,800. A statement of facts also reports that McLain admitted to “purchasing multiple ounces of cocaine base at a time from his suppliers.”

His official sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 15. 

Tenured Faculty Member Fired After Brokering Student Drug Deal In Her Office

Loretta Young had been working as a high school student assistance coordinator for over 15 years, but took her job description a bit too literally by brokering a marijuana deal between two students in her office.

The incident went down last October at Steinert High School in New Jersey, where she ordered two students to return marijuana and money to one another. Ironically, her position offered free and confidential services for students who wanted help with substance abuse, in addition to other “personal, non-academic issues.”

A five-month investigation concluded last May, during which Young insisted that a third student, and not her, brokered the transaction. She also claimed to have attempted to report the incident to Principal Frank Ingargiola, but that he wasn’t in his office. Arbitrator Michael Pecklers unsurprisingly didn’t buy her excuse and the tenured faculty member was ultimately fired.

“There is no excuse for Ms. Young not to have called the main office instantly,” he wrote in the 88-page report. “(Young’s) rambling and confusing attempt to explain away her failure to report the drug transaction immediately to the administration exposes the underlying inconsistency in her story."

Middle School Teacher Smoked Heroin, Sold Oxycodone During School Day

In an incident that rocked the city of Tacoma, a beloved middle school teacher was arrested on charges of selling heroin and oxycodone.

Brian Bennett was booked on two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. An anonymous tipster told police last June that Bennett was dealing drugs and police allegedly observed him selling oxycodone to the informant on several occasions. When police made the arrest at his home, they found 41 oxycodone pills and 1.8 grams of heroin in his car.

Although he denied selling drugs to students, he admitted to smoking heroin in his car during school hours and leaving campus grounds to make drug deals. He also told police that he had sought outpatient drug treatment the previous winter and only dealt drugs because he needed money while going through a divorce. 

But despite his own admissions and the mountain of evidence against him, Bennett surprisingly pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is currently being jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail. 

School District Humiliated After Two Teachers Arrested In 48 Hours

The Timberwood school district in Texas had plenty of explaining to do last May after two teachers were arrested on drug-related charges in just two days.

First grade teacher Monica Quintero, 31, was arrested on May 7 for dealing drugs out of her apartment with her boyfriend and two other men. Her neighbors contacted authorities after noticing suspicious smells and random people entering and leaving the apartment at all hours. When police entered the home, they found heroin, meth and GHB, in addition to a heroin purification lab and numerous syringes.

Authorities also picked up two firearms, one of which was stolen and the other belonging to Quintero's boyfriend, who was a wanted felon. A large amount of cash was also found in the bedroom they shared. Quintero was ultimately charged with two counts of first-degree felony manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance.

Meanwhile, middle school drama teacher Patricia Almond took one hell of a mugshot after allegedly driving drunk to school. Almond, 48, was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after smashing her car into a retaining wall. Police noted that she was “disoriented, swaying from side to side” and reeked of booze. 

Brooklyn Principal Arrested For Smuggling Heroin Into Prison

A Brooklyn principal has likely thrown away 20 years of good work within the city schools of her hometown neighborhood after trying to smuggle heroin and Suboxone into an upstate prison last month.

Sadie Silver was accompanied by boyfriend Michael Acosta and a 10-year-old girl when she tried to bring the drugs for an inmate at Coxsackie Correctional Facility. Police had been previously tipped off about the attempt and searched them immediately upon arrival, after which Silver came clean about her plans. She and Acosta were arrested and charged with felonies including promoting prison contraband and criminal possession of a controlled substance, in addition to a misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child.

But despite the evidence against her and a previous fine by the City Conflict of Interest Board for using connections to help her brother land an entry-level job at her school, the city school system can’t do anything until the investigation is complete. She has been transferred to an administrative center away from students, but is still receiving paychecks from her annual salary of nearly $130,000.

Teachers Refuse To Cooperate With Police In Heroin Investigation

An elementary school in upstate New York attempted to take action after drugs and drug paraphernalia were found in the men’s faculty bathroom last February, but it’s the teachers who ended up obstructing the investigation.

After heroin and needles were found twice in two months in the faculty restroom at Benjamin Cosor Elementary School, located in the town of Fallsburg, school officials used security camera footage to narrow the suspects down to six teachers and a school aide. Local police were notified and authorities later interviewed the seven individuals, but only one of them cooperated in providing a urine sample. The other six teachers hired lawyers at the advice of their union.

Their classrooms were eventually turned over to substitute teachers on the second day of questioning by police, which some felt was painting a portrait of guilt before the investigation had been completed. “[My client is] embarrassed and he’s also angry that he has to defend himself,” said Attorney Jared Hart, representing one of the non-compliant teachers. “He doesn’t feel that he has to be defending himself against something he’s not involved in.”

However, others felt that their lack of cooperation was essentially an admission of guilt. “If you got nothing to hide, give me some urine,” said Fallsburg police chief Sammie Williams. “Let’s clear the teachers’ names who are taking care of these babies for six or seven hours a day.” By April, only the school aide had yet to provide a urine sample, although the test results have not been made public.

Seven-Year-Old Brings Bags Of Grandma’s Heroin To School

In a twisted version of show and tell, a seven-year-old brought nine bags of heroin into school and attempted to pass them out to friends.

The incident took place last May at Caln Elementary School in Pennsylvania. The boy told police he found the drugs in the school yard, but later admitted that the heroin belonged to his grandmother. Pauline Bilinski-Munion, 56, was arrested on felony drug possession charges and had her bail set at $25,000.

The grandmother told police that she was babysitting the boy and brought heroin into the house, but eventually “lost track” of the bags. After her grandson discovered it, he brought it to school the next day and explained to his friends what the drugs were.

Tom Hogan, district attorney in Chester County, Penn., expressed outrage afterwards that the school district didn’t notify police about what happened. “Any exposure to heroin for a young child is likely to result in death,” he said. “The school district didn’t call 911, didn’t call the DA’s office, did not freeze all the kids in place, did not call emergency personnel to check all the kids…they did not check to see if there was heroin anywhere else around.”  

Daycare Operator Arrested After Four Children Overdose On Drugs

In what might win the award for the most unsafe daycare facility in the country, an Indiana woman was arrested after children in her care were rushed to the hospital after overdosing on drugs.

Stephanie Gribble was arrested last February and charged with four preliminary counts of neglect of a dependent. Although it’s unclear what drugs the children had taken, a police report indicated that they were drooling and had difficulty walking. It’s believed that Gribble knowingly gave the toddlers a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medication.

She is also facing additional charges for repeatedly operating a daycare facility without a license. The Family and Social Services Administration requires a license for any daycare facility working with more than five unrelated children. Gribble had legal action taken against her in 2008 for violating this policy by having 10 kids in her care without a license, then again in 2011 with 11 children and in 2012 with 13 children. 

Prep School Grads Busted For Running Upper Crust Drug Ring

A pair of prep school graduates from outside Philadelphia didn’t follow in the Ivy League footsteps of many of their classmates, choosing instead to run a huge drug operation that catered primarily to high school students.

Neil Scott, 25, and Timothy Brooks, 18, were graduates at The Haverford School. They used many of the business skills learned while there to supply dealers with cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana, who then sold the drugs to prep school students throughout Philadelphia suburbs. 

They were both arrested in April 2014 after authorities seized over $11,000, eight pounds of weed, a loaded assault rifle, two other weapons and equipment to manufacture hash oil. Scott and Brooks made $1,000 per week on marijuana alone at the peak of their sales, which were helped by Scott’s previous experience selling medical marijuana at a dispensary in San Diego.

The attorney for Brooks acknowledged that Brooks had “lost his way” after he suffered an injury that led to his leaving the University of Richmond and moving back in with his parents. John Nagi, headmaster of the Haverford School, said the choices the pair made “reflect badly on the values the school stands for. They let down themselves and their families, who’ve made huge sacrifices to send them to the school.”

Teacher Used Drug-Laced Oreos To Molest Students

A teacher with a 45-year history of drugging and molesting young boys took his own life when his latest child sex crimes came to light.

William James Vahey committed suicide last March when a memory drive surfaced with evidence that he had molested over 90 boys. Many of them were students at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, an elite international private school where he had been working for several years. An FBI affidavit reports that Vahey would give students drug-laced Oreos, then touch them and pose for nude photos as they were unconscious. 

After the memory drive went missing last November, he attempted to take his own life by swallowing 100 sleeping pills. Vahey was eventually confronted with the images months later by Gloria Doll, director of the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, but justified his actions by claiming he was molested as a child.

Vahey fled to the U.S. and stabbed himself to death at a hotel in Luverne, Minn., where his mother, brother and sister-in-law live. His first child abuse sex charge took place in 1969 and FBI Special Agent Sharon Dunlap said he reportedly molested hundreds of children during his life, calling him “one of the most prolific pedophiles we’ve ever seen due to the sheer numbers.” 

Although he was a registered sex offender, he never updated his information after the first offense and still managed to land teaching jobs at private schools throughout the world. 

Many of the schools where Vahey has taught over the years are now reviewing their background check policies and security procedures. “It certainly bothers me that a person like that would be left unsupervised and obviously not tracked over the last 45 years now,” said one of his victims, who was molested at the age of nine and is now an adult. “I find it troubling. I guess the question now is how can the system allow that to happen?”

Science Teacher Gains Support After Suspension For Tackling Alleged Drug Dealer

A California science teacher and wrestling coach put his mat skills to use by tackling and pinning down an alleged drug dealing student in his classroom.

Mark Black called out the student for selling drugs in his class at Santa Monica High School, which led to the teenager punching him in the face. Video footage captured by another student shows that Black eventually wrapped his arms around the alleged drug dealer as a means of restraint.

But despite video evidence that Black was trying to defend himself, Santa Monica-Malibu school district superintendent Sandra Lyon said that his actions were “unacceptable” and placed him on leave pending investigation. She also warned that criminal charges could be a possibility. 

After Black’s suspension, the student body rallied around him and said he was simply trying to stop illegal activity. A Facebook support page generated over 20,000 likes, while a petition to reinstate him collected over 150,000 signatures. Lyon later apologized for her comments about Black’s actions and said they “reflected a pre-judgment of the teacher’s conduct prior to the completion of an investigation.

Two students were arrested in connection with the incident. An 18-year-old man was accused of threatening a school official, battery against a school employee, possessing a weapon and possessing marijuana. A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of battery against a school employee. 

Youth Counselor Charged With Sexually Abusing His Students

A counselor for at-risk youth abused his position of power by giving male teenage students alcohol and drugs before taking nude photos of them.

Darrell Hughes, 55, has been accused of taking at least five students to his Indiana home since 2008. He got them to pose for nude photographs with promises of launching their modeling careers, then convinced them to take showers in his bathroom that had been rigged with hidden cameras. The hidden cameras and a memory card with video of one of the boys showering has since been uncovered by authorities.

One of the boys molested by him came forward and told police last January. Hughes has since been arrested and charged with felony sexual exploitation of a minor. He is being held without bond at the U.S. Marshal’s office and could spend the next 30 years behind bars if convicted.

Gary Woolf, a federal agent on the case, said Hughes’ crimes were “particularly troubling” since he “betrayed the trust of the children he was supposedly helping.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.