Florida high school coaches arrested on federal drug charges
Brevard County, Fla. — Two Florida high school football coaches have been placed on administrative leave by the school district following their arrests amid a drug investigation.
Leonard Charles Agee Jr., 40, of Titusville and Benjamin S. Jenkins, 36, of Mims face charges of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.
Both men are well known to federal investigators as assistant football coaches at Titusville High School and as instructional assistants for Brevard Public Schools. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, according to a federal criminal complaint announced Wednesday.
“No illegal transactions or activities occurred on school grounds and, without being able to go into specific detail, we took extra precaution to ensure nothing like that would occur,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent In Charge Jeffrey Walsh during a news conference.
“It was very important to all of law enforcement to find out if anyone else in the Brevard County school system was involved, to find out if students were in danger. It was really important for us to make sure we knew as much as possible before bringing this case to where we are today with the arrests,” said U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley, who represents the Middle District of Florida.
The Brevard Schools employees have also been removed from any contact with students at Titusville High, and a recommendation to fire both will be made at the next school board meeting on July 19, according to Michelle Irwin of Brevard Public Schools.
“We share in the shock and disappointment that someone that deals with our children in the school system would make a conscious decision to make money this way,” Walsh said.
Added Titusville Police Chief John Lau: “I don’t like any type of crime around children, and I don’t think any of the gentlemen up here like that at all. So it’s something that we certainly wanted to be aggressive and make sure the charges stuck.”
According to the criminal complaint, between September 2015 and his arrest Wednesday, Agee sold heroin to a confidential informant. The criminal complaint describes Agee as a large-scale dealer of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.
Several times starting in 2015, Jenkins sold prescription pills and cocaine to a confidential informant, the complaint said. He is accused of selling cocaine and prescription pills like fentanyl, which authorities say is up to 100 times stronger than heroin.
Investigators spent almost a year on this case.
“They’ve been involved in drug distribution for quite some time, years. Longer than the investigation,” Walsh said.
In a statement, Brevard Schools Superintendent Desmond Blackburn said: “I cannot truly express how deeply appalled I am to learn of this egregious violation of our trust by people we employ to serve our students.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, with help from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, Titusville Police, Melbourne Police and the Florida Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Services.