HARDEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Manatee County science teacher faces drug charges after deputies say they found meth and drug paraphernalia at her home.
On Wednesday, Hardee County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to the home of Lakewood Ranch High School teacher Hollis Morantes and her husband Gabino Morantes to look for a suspect who was thought to have been at the couple’s home. Deputies were searching for David Alday on an outstanding felony warrant after he allegedly fled from the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office in a car that belonged to Hollis Morantes.
The Morantes let the deputies inside their home and consented to a search for the suspect. They also told the deputies that their .270 caliber rifle was missing.
While searching the house for Alday, deputies say found drug paraphernalia in plain view. They also saw methamphetamine that was within reach of the couple’s 5-year-old child. Deputies say Hollis Morantes admitted she had meth in her purse and that she had used it earlier that day. Gabino Morantes allegedly told deputies he had smoked meth that morning.
Deputies say drug residue that tested positive for meth was also on a straw among the child’ board games on the dining room table. In the bedroom, detectives found baggies, scales, pipes, synthetic urine, and a cleansing agent used for passing drug tests. Deputies say the couple admitted to using meth for about a year.
Hollis and Gabino Morantes were arrested and taken to the Hardee County Jail. They were charged with possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia and child neglect. Their child was picked up by a relative,
Deputies did not find Alday at the home. They say he had already left the Morantes’ house in one of their other cars.
Hollis Morantes is a science teacher at the Lakewood Ranch High School, according to the school’s website. The county school district officials issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“The Florida Department of Law Enforcement alerted the School District today of the arrest of Teacher Hollis Morantes. Based upon this notification, the School District is following all protocols and procedures that protect the safety of our students. The employee is on paid administrative leave pending a full investigation. This is our protocol for any employee arrested for a felony of this nature..
Records show that Gabino Morantes has prior arrests in Hardee for aggravated assault with deadly weapon.