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Former Pasco teacher charged with drug trafficking

A former teacher and boys track coach who was charged with soliciting a prostitute in 2004 is now facing drug trafficking charges after a traffic stop Friday morning on U.S. 19.

The Florida Highway Patrol said a trooper stopped William A. Napolitano, 49, at 2 a.m. while Napolitano was driving 61 mph in a 45 mph zone on U.S. 19 near Luna Vista Drive.

When the trooper approached Napolitano, who was driving a black 1998 two-door Lexus, he noticed a small plastic bag of cocaine on the front seat of the car, according to an FHP report.

The trooper searched the car and found $13,000 in cash, 31 grams of cocaine, 2 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, including glass smoking pipes and butane torches, the release said.

Kimberly A. Lang, 43, of 4304 Crestwood Blvd. in New Port Richey, who was also in the car, had 36 grams of cocaine in her possession, the report said.

With a street value of $50 a gram, the cocaine found on Napolitano and Lang is worth about $3,350, according to FHP spokesman Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Both Napolitano and Lang were charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, and taken to the Land O'Lakes jail, where they are being held in lieu of $53,000 bail.

Napolitano, of 2057 Sugarbush Drive in Holiday, was a teacher and coach at River Ridge High when he had his first brush with the law in 1998.

He was charged with soliciting a prostitute in Hillsborough County after authorities said he offered an undercover officer $15 for sex. He pleaded no contest on that charge.

Although school superintendent John Long recommended he be fired after that arrest, Napolitano got a second chance.

He lost his positions coaching cross country and track and field, but kept his teaching job by agreeing to punitive and rehabilitative measures with the school district and state.

He was hired as boys track and cross country coach at Mitchell in 2000, earning recognition for his work. The Sunshine Athletic Conference and the Pasco Times both named him 2003 boys cross country Coach of the Year.

That same year, Napolitano was charged with soliciting a prostitute after authorities said he offered an undercover police officer $20 for oral sex.

He no longer works for the school district.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6229.

Former Pasco teacher charged with drug trafficking 10/31/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 7, 2008 2:30pm]
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