Joseph Latona, 27, of Merrick, who has worked in the North Merrick school district for the past nine years, was arrested in possession of 73 bags of cocaine, police said. He was to be arraigned Wednesday in First District Court, Hempstead.
Narcotics detectives saw Latona involved in a drug transaction from his pickup truck on Laurel Court in North Merrick at 4:55 p.m., police said. When the officers approached him, he fled in his vehicle, police said, but was later contacted by telephone by detectives and surrendered.
Latona has worked at the Old Mill Elementary School for the past five years and worked the previous four years at the Camp Avenue Middle School, police said.
Detectives asked that anyone with information concerning drug activity involving Latona contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.