TAMPA — Three times, officials say, an undercover sheriff's deputy bought drugs from Joye Jones, a physical education teacher at Lewis Elementary School.
The first buy, at 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 26, was in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant 1.8 miles from the Temple Terrace school. Jones allegedly sold the deputy 45 hydrocodone pills for $1,000.
The second, on the afternoon of Sept. 2, was near a skating rink on N Armenia Avenue. This time officials say the drug was another painkiller: 84 oxycodone pills for $2,570.
The third time, Monday at a Citrus Park shopping center bordered by three public schools, the detective said he bought $2,500 worth of oxycodone and then arrested Jones.
She is charged with five felony drug counts, including selling within 1,000 feet of a convenience business. She was still in jail Tuesday. Her husband declined to comment.
Since the arrest, Jones, 40, has been on paid leave at the Hillsborough County school district, pending a School Board vote to place her on unpaid suspension.
The school district was not aware of the sheriff's investigation before the arrest, spokesman Stephen Hegarty said.
Monday's meeting took place at a commercial corner of Gunn Highway near Sickles High, Smith Middle, and Citrus Park Elementary schools. Also arrested was Johnny Andres Urrutia, 25, accused of taking part in only the third transaction.
"We purchased the narcotics and then as a result we were also able to arrest her supplier," sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said. Urrutia has been arrested five times previously, with three of the arrests including drug offenses.
Jones has been a school district employee since 2000. She worked at Shore and Folsom elementary schools and Jennings and Pierce middle schools, teaching general elementary education, art and physical education before joining Lewis in 2012.
According district policy, she can remain on suspension until her case is resolved, unless she decides to resign.
Carter said there was no indication that Jones was doing anything that might affect her students.
Contact Marlene Sokol at (813) 226-3356 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @marlenesokol.