Florida teacher facing drug possession charges

A Florida middle school teacher faces an uncertain future after being taken into custody on drug charges during the early morning hours of July 29. An Escambia County official said that the 44-year-old woman has been suspended with pay. The outcome of a Florida Department of Education investigation will determine whether she retains her teaching certificate. She has been charged with marijuana and cocaine possession and possession of a Schedule III controlled substance without a prescription.

According to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, the woman's silver SUV was pulled over by deputies on Kipling Street in Ferry Pass for an expired tag at approximately 1:00 a.m. During the traffic stop, deputies say they observed narcotics in plain view inside the SUV. They also say they discovered that the woman behind the wheel was driving with an expired driver's license.

This prompted the deputies to take the woman and her male passenger into custody and conduct a search of the vehicle. During the search, deputies are said to have found bags containing substances that were later identified by field tests as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Deputies also allegedly discovered a pill later identified as the narcotic pain reliever buprenorphine hydrochloride. Deputies say they also found a backpack containing more marijuana and 20 hypodermic syringes.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys may request more rigorous forensic testing when their clients face drug charges based on the results of field tests. The portable testing kits used by law enforcement are inexpensive and simple to use, but they are far from reliable. These kits have been known to identify harmless substances like baking soda and sugar as powerful narcotics. Attorneys may also urge prosecutors to show leniency when their clients have no prior criminal record and are likely to face severe professional consequences for conduct that harmed nobody but themselves.

Source: The Pensacola News Journal, ECSO: Ferry Pass Middle School teacher arrested after heroin, cocaine, meth found in car, Colin Warren-Hicks, Aug. 12, 2019

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