ORLANDO — A pair of Titusville (Fla.) High football coaches were arrested Wednesday on federal drug-conspiracy charges.
Leonard Charles Agee Jr., 40, of Titusville and 36-year-old Benjamin Jenkins of Mims were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, federal investigators reported.
Authorities said Agee led the operation, which distributed a variety of drugs through multiple dealers in North Brevard. Both could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
Agee worked as an instructional assistant at Titusville High School, and Jenkins served as an instructional assistant at Imperial Estates Elementary, also in Titusville. Both were assistant coaches on the Titusville football team and Agee is a coach for the girls’ track team.
“It was time for everybody to go to jail,” said Jeffrey T. Walsh, with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Among the prescription pills sold were fentanyl, a drug described by authorities as 100 times more powerful than heroin. Fentanyl is the same drug typically prescribed to patients with terminal illnesses and the same compound that Minnesota authorities implicated in the death of pop star Prince in April. The drug has been connected to a number of overdoses in Brevard County over the last year.
According to a complaint, agents began gathering information on Agee in January of 2015, and agents came to an opinion that he was a large scale drug dealer. Police also believed that Jenkins was a co-conspirator.
Additionally, sometime between Sept. 2015 and June 2016, Agee sold heroin to an informant, authorities say, adding he dealt in both marijuana and cocaine.
In one case, Agee is alleged to have arrived at a residence with a Titusville High School student and football player in the passenger seat. Agee then entered the residence to complete a $450 heroin transaction with an undercover agent.
Jenkins sold prescription pills and cocaine to an informant, authorities said.
Both Agee and Jenkins were released on $50,000 bond after a first appearance in a federal court on Wednesday. Agee will wear a GPS monitoring device. Both waived their right to a preliminary hearing.
“This is an emerging law-enforcement investigation, and we are working collaboratively with authorities,” said Michelle Irwin, school district spokeswoman in a statement to FLORIDA TODAY.
Several others were taken in on state charges and are held in the Brevard County Jail. They include Cecil Jerome Thornton, 44, of Titusville, charged with a violation of state probation, possession of firearm as a convicted felon, paraphernalia and possession with intent to sell.
Also arrested were Jerry Pickens, Jr., 36, of Titusville, for possession of marijuana less than 20 grams and Essie Evans of Titusville, 43, on violation of state probation, possession of cocaine with intent to sell, possession of paraphernalia with intent to manufacture and possession of firearm as convicted felon charges.
It was the latest in a series of high-profile arrests involving Brevard County school officials this year.
Earlier this month, Spessard Holland Elementary Principal Ricky Sheppard, 59, was relieved of his duties in connection with his arrest on federal child pornography charges. In February, the Brevard County Sheriff’s office arrested two school employees on charges they stole thousands of dollars in school property. Those cases are pending in court, records show.
“We did a lot of work that we might not ordinarily do in a case of this size,” said Bentley of the latest case involving the two coaches which included federal wiretaps.
“It’s because of the nature of the job that these people that these individuals had.”