Arrest, drug charges for River Hill teacher

Instructor arrested after attempting to pick up package containing methamphetamine, police say

October 01, 2005|By MATTHEW DOLAN | MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER

Authorities have charged a Howard County social studies teacher with accepting $50,000 worth of methamphetamine from a middleman who was secretly working with state and federal drug enforcement agents.

Timothy W. Hartlove was arrested and charged this week with two counts of drug possession with intent to distribute by Baltimore County police.

Authorities later searched his home in the 2300 block of Eutaw Place in Baltimore and found methamphetamine, marijuana, 52 tablets of the club drug Ecstasy, a quart of the odorless "date-rape" drug known as GHB and about $16,500 in cash locked inside a safe, according to court papers.

State court papers reveal the 35-year-old teacher at River Hill High School in Clarksville was arrested after he tried to retrieve a 1.1-pound package authorities believed contained methamphetamine Wednesday afternoon in Baltimore County.

"We consider this a very serious case," Ed Marcinko, a spokesman for the Baltimore office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said yesterday. "The amount of drugs seized was not just for personal use."

Hartlove, who posted $50,000 bail on Thursday, did not return a message left at his home yesterday.

"The school system has placed Mr. Hartlove on administrative leave pending an investigation," River Hill Principal William H. Ryan wrote to parents in a letter sent yesterday. "This incident did not happen on school property, and based on the information we have from police there is no indication that Mr. Hartlove was involved in drug activity with students."

Hartlove is also the faculty sponsor for the debate team and the Gay Straight Alliance, according to the school's Web site.

Allison Baker, a junior at River Hill and student in one of Hartlove's history classes this year, said yesterday that students are shocked over the allegations.

"Nobody believes he could have done something like this," said Baker, 16. "People have [written] letters to the school board vouching for his character, and expressed a want to be a character witness at a trial if there is one. Students love him."

The investigation started when a Baltimore police detective working for a Maryland State Police drug interdiction unit examining packages at an express delivery office in Anne Arundel County spotted a suspicious one intended for Robin Southall, 56, of Baltimore County.

Detective Hans Nicolas called in a state police sergeant and his drug-sniffing dog, which confirmed the presence of illegal narcotics. After obtaining a warrant from a city judge, the officers opened the parcel and found a blender packed with a substance believed to be methamphetamine, according to authorities.

Investigators resealed the package and used an undercover delivery person to bring the package to Southall's Baltimore CSX office on Charles Street. When Southall accepted the drug-filled parcel, police arrested him, authorities said.

Southall was charged with drug possession and released on $10,000 bail, and refused to comment when reached at his home yesterday.

Southall told police he was accepting the package for Hartlove, as he had done at least twice before, in exchange for part of the drug supply. He agreed to call Hartlove and lure him to his home on the 6700 block of Bonnie Ridge Drive, according to court documents.

Police hid in a closet as Hartlove entered the house. When they jumped out, "Hartlove began screaming and threw the suspected drug parcel" at one officer, according to court papers.

matthew.dolan@baltsun.com

Sun reporters Larry Carson and Hanah Cho contributed to this report.

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