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Former teacher pleads guilty to possessing cocaine at Lake Central High School

Former teacher pleads guilty to possessing cocaine at Lake Central High School


CROWN POINT — A 24-year-old former Lake Central High School teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to possession of cocaine, a Level 6 felony, on allegations she was caught snorting the drug in a classroom.

Samantha M. Cox admitted in a plea agreement filed Thursday in Lake Criminal Court she possessed cocaine Nov. 22, 2017, on school property.

Cox, a former teacher taken into custody after a student allegedly videotaped her using cocaine in an empty classroom, would be sentenced to 12 months of probation under the terms of the agreement. She would need to complete a drug treatment program while on probation, or face 12 months in jail.

If she successfully completed her probation, Cox would be able to petition the court to reduce her felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor. The state would dismiss one count of misdemeanor drug paraphernalia as part of the plea agreement.

Defense attorney Ray Szarmach told Judge Salvador Vasquez his client already completed a 30-day in-patient drug treatment program. He said his client currently worked for a psychiatrist.

Vasquez said he wanted to see Cox's medical records before determining whether to accept a plea agreement.

An acceptance of plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Cox was arrested Nov. 22, 2017, after a student allegedly posted a video on social media of the teacher using cocaine in her classroom. The video was brought to the attention of school administrators, who called police.

A search of the teacher's desk turned up a plastic cigarette wrapper filled with pieces of tin foil and a piece of paper rolled up like a straw. More drug paraphernalia was found in her vehicle.

Cox admitted she purchased $160 worth of cocaine before school. She said she usually used it after school, but she was feeling sick that morning. She said she had used cocaine for four years.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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