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Law Enforcement:

Report details school principal’s arrest on meth charges

Updated Friday, Sept. 3, 2010 | 2:31 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Leroy Espinosa

Click to enlarge photo

Joseph Rodriquez

Dondero Elementary School Principal Leroy Espinosa was arrested Thursday on a charge of possession of methamphetamine, Clark County School District police said.

Police also arrested Joseph Rodriquez, the office manager of Simmons Elementary, who lived with Espinosa, police said.

Espinosa, 53, was booked into the Clark County Detention Center on one count of possession of methamphetamine, a felony, one misdemeanor count of possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and four misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Rodriquez, 48, was booked on one felony count of possession of methamphetamine, one misdemeanor count of possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

Jail records indicated neither man was in custody Friday morning.

According to Rodriquez’s arrest report, police were called to Simmons Elementary after the school clerk found a plastic bag with a white crystal substance near the copy machine.

Police said the substance tested positive for methamphetamine. This was the second time drugs were found in the school office; a similar substance was found months earlier in a magazine on the office manager’s desk, police said.

Police questioned Rodriquez and got his permission to search his car, where they found marijuana and pipes with marijuana and meth residue, the report says.

Rodriquez told police he uses the marijuana to treat medical problems, but he didn’t have his prescription with him, the report says. Police said Rodriquez admitted the drugs were his and that the meth must have fallen out of his pocket when he pulled out his keys.

Rodriquez was arrested at the school, but requested that it not be in front of students, police said.

While he was being taken to the Clark County Detention Center, Rodriquez allegedly told an officer “he has had a problem for some time and needed to get help,” the arrest report says.

Police then went to Rodriquez’s home, where they met Espinosa, who gave them permission to search the house and his car, according to Espinosa’s arrest report.

Officers found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the house and methamphetamine in Espinosa’s car, the report says.

School District officials said they couldn’t comment on the arrests, but confirmed that the two were district employees.

Espinosa began working for the School District on Aug. 15, 1991, a school district spokeswoman said. He has been the principal at Dondero Elementary since June 2003. Rodriquez was hired by the district on March 2, 1992.

Harvey N. Dondero Elementary School is near the intersection of Harmon Avenue and Jones Boulevard in the western valley. Simmons Elementary is in North Las Vegas, near the intersection of Tropical Parkway and Clayton Street.

Clark County assessor records show the two men purchased the home, which is near Decatur Boulevard and Alexander Road, in 2003.

It wasn’t clear whether either man had an attorney. Calls to their home Friday went unanswered.

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