Students, teacher arrested for drugs

Published 11:08 am Saturday, January 29, 2011

Two students at Escambia County High School were arrested Wednesday morning after drug dogs discovered marijuana and Lortabs in two vehicles.

Four dog teams from the Alabama Department of Corrections along with deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office were requested by school administration to sniff out classrooms and lockers following rumors that drugs were on campus.

Their intuition paid off.

Tikeria Deshae Wiggins, 18, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.|Photo by Adam Prestridge

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Tikeria Deshae Wiggins, 18, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana after the dogs discovered a bottle of Lortabs and a small amount of marijuana in her white Toyota Corolla in the school’s parking lot. The pill bottle was discovered in the console of her car and the marijuana was discovered hidden in a compartment next to the steering wheel. ECSO deputies immediately transferred her to the Escambia County Detention Center in Brewton.

A 17-year-old black, male student was also detained after two to three grams of marijuana were discovered in his black Toyota Corolla.

The large bag of marijuana was discovered hidden under the gear shifter. He was transferred to the Baldwin County Juvenile Detention Center.

Although suspicions paid off, ECHS Principal Zickeyous Byrd was “disappointed” by the discovery of drugs on his campus.

“It was an unfortunate situation, and I was really disappointed,” he said. “I was confident that no drugs were on this campus, but it goes to show that we have more work to do.”

An hour-long search of the inside of school, including each classroom, technical buildings and lockers, turned up no drugs. Byrd was pleased drugs were not discovered inside the premises, but believes more work can be done to keep them completely off campus.

“Although drugs were not inside the building, I still was hurt to find out that they were in the parking lot, inside the cars,” Byrd said. “Again, It goes to show that we have more work to do. We must do a better job at educating our students about the dangers of drugs, and I am committed to doing that with the help of the community. ECHS will be a campus that is drug free on the inside as well as on the outside. We have some wonderful students here, but sometimes they make mistakes. Life is full of learning experiences, and this should serve as a learning experience for all our students.”

The dog teams began their search at Escambia County Middle School following rumors of drugs on campus. No drugs were discovered during the hour-long search, but some students were found in possession of cell phones.

The drug dogs were then used in Flomaton where a teacher at the Escambia County alternative school was arrested and charged with drug possession following a search at the school and Flomaton High School parking lot.

During a search of classrooms at the alternative school, sheriff’s officials said, drug dogs alerted deputies to a bag belonging to Jill Coulter, 54, of Cantonment, Fla., a teacher. The search revealed prescription medication belonging to Coulter, officials said.

Drug dogs also zeroed in on Coulter’s car in the parking lot, and she allowed officers to search the car after admitting there was marijuana in the vehicle, officials said.

Deputies searched the car and found a small amount of what deputies believed to be marijuana and rolling papers inside her purse.

Coulter was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Superintendent Billy Hines hopes the arrests will serve as a stern warning to both students and teachers that drugs will not be tolerated on any school campus, during and after school hours.

“We’re not limiting these drug searches to a school day,” he said. “We have had these drug dogs come in during basketball games to search vehicles. As long as we are having any type of function on school property, we can have these drug dogs on our campus.”

Hines said measures such as having drug dogs search schools and their parking lots is one way of working to ensure the system’s top priority, the students, are safe.

“Our goal is to have a drug free system and whatever we can do to deter it or discourage people from bringing drugs to school, we will do it,” Hines said. “We’re always looking after the safety of our children.”

Hines said that the drug searches are unannounced to the school administration with only him knowing ahead of time. He said principals are called a few minutes prior to law enforcement arriving on campus.

“These are random searches, the only one who knows about it is me,” Hines said. “The morning of, the principal is called to put the school on lockdown when they get there. We welcome them in the schools because we use it as a deterrent. There is no previous warning to anybody that the drug dogs are coming.”

Hines said Coulter is currently on administrative leave, pending an investigation.

Jill Coulter