The principal of a Santa Clara elementary school has been arrested on suspicion of possessing crystal methamphetamine for sale.
State prosecutors say Eric Dean Lewis was taken into custody on Friday after he arranged to meet an undercover officer he encountered on an online dating site at a Caltrain station and provide him with narcotics.
California Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory says police began investigating Lewis after getting a tip that the Montague Elementary School principal was involved in drugs. The San Mateo County Times reports authorities searched Lewis' house after his arrest and found a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine and the club drug GHB.
Lewis, a San Francisco resident, had been principal of Montague Elementary School for seven years. School officials placed Lewis on administrative unpaid leave and have already named an interim principal.
A letter will also be sent home with students Monday notifying parents of the situation.
“I'm sure the kids will be a little disappointed, but they'll move on and we'll able to focus them back on their learning,” said Tabitha Kappeler of the Santa Clara Unified School District.
Mattie Rush is the grandmother of a kindergarten and third grade students.
She said Lewis was well respected and even helped out with the anti-drug DARE program.
“If you do something like this sooner or later you're going to get caught,” Rush said. “It’s bad that the children have to know that someone they look up to like that got caught up in something like this.”
The Department of Justice said Lewis is charged with the offer to furnish and possession of drugs. Both are felonies and he could face up to five years or more in prison if convicted.
Lewis was booked into Santa Clara County jail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney.
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