by: Chris Jose, Rikki Klaus Updated:
A local middle school teacher was one of two people arrested in a $6 million drug bust, officials said.
According to the Hall County Sheriff's Office, Karla Alvarez, 28, and Monica Pascual Brito, 24, were arrested at their home on Crawford Oaks Drive in Oakwood.
"It caught all of us by surprise," neighborhood HOA president Roger Roesler told Channel 2’s Chris Jose. "A double life, indeed."
Authorities said they found 61 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin and two semi-automatic assault rifles in the home. The estimated value of the drugs is about $6.2 million.
"The quantity is pretty substantial. We have arrested teachers before, but I don't recall arresting a teacher with this amount of drugs," said Lt. Scott Ware, spokesman for the Hall County Sheriff's Office.
Ware said Alvarez and Brito are charged with trafficking and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and heroin. They are also charged with two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
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Investigators said they’re also seeking Brito’s brother, Ricardo Pascual Brito, 25, in connection with the incident. Ware said he remains on the run.
It's unclear if the Brito siblings are in the country illegally.
"I do know his sister has an immigration charge on her. She was wanted in Mexico," said Ware.
Alvarez has been a teacher at Chestatee Middle School Academy since August 2015, Hall County schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said. She also coaches the girls’ soccer team.
"We were just shocked because she's been characterized as a very quiet and reserved person," Hall County Schools spokesman Gordon Higgins said. "She came to us with very good credentials. We always do extensive background checks on all of our employees. There was nothing to indicate that she was a person we would not want to hire."
Higgins told Jose there is no evidence that Alvarez sold or had the intent to sell the drugs to her students.
"We have no indication that anything like that went on," Higgins said.
"The teachers need to be role models," student Brian Garrett told Channel 2’s Rikki Klaus. "When I was in sixth grade, she was calm, really nice and everything."
When he heard what happened, Garrett said he was stunned.
"I was like, no way Jose, and then I started believing it. I was just shocked and everything," he said.
According to the district, Alvarez is on unpaid administrative leave.
The school board could decide as early as next week on whether to fire Alvarez, said Higgins.
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