Local teacher arrested on drug charges

Wanda English Burnett

A South Ripley teacher has been suspended pending an investigation after being arrested on drug charges at the Orlando Airport in Florida. South Ripley Superintendent Dr. John Mehrle could only confirm that a teacher from the school has been suspended with pay.

This is a personnel matter under investigation, which he is not legally allowed to comment about. She has been a teacher at the high school since 1999 and teaches high school English.

According to information from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, Karen Halcomb-Hafft, 49 of Versailles, was arrested at the airport and initially charged with Trafficking in Oxycodone >14,<28 grams. Court documents reveal the amount was 18.7 grams. The arrest took place last Tuesday, January 17 at 3:27 p.m.

The “trafficking” charge generally refers to the illegal sale and/or distribution of a controlled substance and the amount of drugs involved. This particular charge is a felony and carries a minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years, with a fine of $100,000 if the person is convicted.

According to Public Information Officer, Allen Moore, from the Orange County Corrections Department, Halcomb-Hafft had obtained a pill bottle containing 149 Oxycodone pills from another traveler that did not belong to her.

According to the charging affidavit, Halcomb-Haaft knowingly opened the traveler’s pill bottle and poured (149) Oxycodone into her own Diazepam bottle.

After Halcomb-Hafft was read her Miranda rights, she agreed to talk to the arresting officer, Agent Steven Smith. She told the officer that she knowingly took the pills that did not belong to her because she wanted to sell them in exchange for money back home in Indiana.
The pills could go for as much as $100 each on the street, making the value nearly $15,000.

Halcomb-Hafft was booked in the Florida correctional facility on Tuesday, January 17 and released on a $200,000 bond on Wednesday, January 18, according to PIO Moore.