Former Charter School Principal Pleads Guilty To One Drug Possession Charge

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Former Star Valley Charter School administrator Russell Koch was offered and accepted a plea to a single count of possession of dangerous drugs, a Class 4 felony.

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said Koch was guaranteed probation and required to pay $750 to the Cost of Prosecution Fund and $50 to the Payson Police Department DARE Fund.

"Unless there is evidence of sales or providing drugs to children, most first time offenders for possession of drugs in Arizona are given the opportunity to succeed on probation," Flores said. "If he fails probation, he is facing several years in prison."

Originally Koch was indicted by the Gila County grand jury on seven drug counts.

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 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 He has since been replaced by Leonard Bustos on an interim basis.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 Arizona State Board of Education will need to hold a hearing to determine the disposition of Koch's certification in regard to his guilty plea to the felony, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

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