No Trial Date Set For Former Charter School Site Administrator


No trial date has yet been set for Russell Koch, indicted by the Gila County grand jury on seven drug counts.

Koch has a case management conference Monday, April 28, said Patti Wortman, deputy Gila County attorney, who is prosecuting the case.

The grand jury indicted Koch Feb. 20 on two counts of possession/use of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine), two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and three counts of possession/use of marijuana.

Koch was arrested Feb. 11, following a year-long investigation by Det. Jason Hazelo of the Payson Police Department. At the time of his arrest, Koch was the site administrator at Star Valley Charter School. He has since been replaced by Leonard Bustos on an interim basis.

The investigation was initiated after an individual in custody told police Koch "was using and possessing methamphetamine." The investigation included surveillance and interviews, according to the case summary from the Payson Police Department.

A search warrant was issued Feb. 11, which included orders for both urine and blood samples from Koch, which were taken at the police department.

The urine sample showed positive for both marijuana and methamphetamine, according to the case summary.

A yellow wallet, discovered by police under a vehicle where Koch had been detained at the school in Star Valley, with Koch's identification in it, contained methamphetamine.

The search warrant also allowed the police to take two computers from the school.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety assisted the police in reviewing the contents of the computers, which were later returned to the school, said Chief Don Engler of the Payson Police Department.

Koch's attorney Michael Bernays of Phoenix was contacted for a comment, but was not available.

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