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Drug items found in teacher's car



Published: Fri, February 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The teacher told authorities the suspicious items aren't his.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- City school administrators and law enforcement officials are investigating the discovery of drug paraphernalia found in a junior high school teacher's car earlier this week.

The teacher, who has not been charged with any crime, met with school officials on the matter Thursday and was in his classroom today, assigned to normal duties, Lori Thayer, junior high principal, said this morning.

The matter unfolded near 11 a.m. Wednesday when a repossession company brought a tow truck to the school, 230 N. Lincoln Ave., to repossess the teacher's car, a late-model Pontiac.

What was inside: The tow truck driver conducted a routine inventory of the vehicle and discovered inside what appeared to be marijuana seeds and a makeshift pipe of the type generally used to smoke drugs.

The driver towed the vehicle to the police station on South Broadway Avenue and told police what he found.

Police seized the contents and asked the teacher to come to the station voluntarily to be questioned.

The teacher complied, telling police the materials did not belong to him and that he had no knowledge of their being in his car.

Police Chief Mike Weitz explained this morning that the tow truck driver should have called police to the scene instead of towing the car to the police station.

By moving the car and its contents from where they were discovered, he may have compromised the items' value as criminal evidence, Weitz said.

Police conferred with the prosecutor's office on the matter, and were told to refer the case to the Columbiana County Drug Task Force.

The agency has more expertise than local police departments in handling drug matters, Weitz said.




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