Star Valley Charter School Official Faces Drug Charges

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A Star Valley Charter School teacher was arrested on multiple drug charges while 20 students sat and watched Payson Police take him off school grounds in handcuffs.

No students were involved in the incident and all were either released to parents or allowed to leave the campus on their own if they were over 18.

Russell Ivan Koch, 54, was arrested at the Star Valley Charter School Monday, Feb. 11, morning at about 9:30 after Payson police received a tip regarding drug activity at the school.

Police allege Koch was in possession of meth and other drugs at the school. Koch was the lone official at the school on East Ezell Lane in Star Valley.

Koch faces possible charges of possession of dangerous drugs (methamphetamine), possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal drug offenses in a drug free school zone, and failure to report illegal drug offenses in a drug free school zone.

Koch was booked into jail in Payson. He is being held on a $50,000 bond at the county jail in Payson.

A press release from Payson Police said that a citizen tip on drug activity at the school led them to arrest Koch after the Payson Police Department's Special Enforcement Unit and the Gila County Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant.

Police said anonymous tips were the key in the arrest and the situation might have continued unchecked if not for conscientious citizens who were not afraid to get involved and inform police about suspicious activity.

The investigation is ongoing and police said they would release more information as it is available.

Anyone with information about any illegal drug activity can call the Payson Police Department Silent Witness Hotline at 928-474-3984.All calls are anonymous.

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