A former Conway High School teacher is charged with two felonies and other misdemeanor charges after authorities reportedly pulled him over Friday and found meth in his vehicle.
Online records show Richard Randall Romeo, 59, of Conway is charged with possession of methamphetamine with purpose to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and improper display of license tags following a Friday traffic stop.
Conway Public Schools spokesman Heather Kendrick confirmed Romeo previously worked at the school as an agriculture instructor but said he no longer works at the high school and currently has no ties to the district.
"Conway Schools can only confirm that Randy Romeo retired from teaching in our district several years ago," she told the Log Cabin Democrat on Monday.
According to a probable cause affidavit, a Conway officer initiated a traffic stop on a white Toyota Avalon on Friday because he was "unable to read the paper tag that was displayed on the vehicle" because there was "water and debris clouding up the plastic cover that is over the tag."
Romeo was traveling northbound on Old Morrilton Highway when the officer attempted to pull him over.
According to the officer's report, Romeo did not immediately pull over when the officer turned on his blue lights to signal he was conducting a traffic stop.
"I initiated my traffic lights to conduct a traffic stop. As I initiated my traffic lights, the Avalon continued north on Old Morrilton Highway," the officer's report reads in part. "As I was waiting for the Avalon to pull over, I turned on my spot light to light up the inside of the vehicle, due to the driver not pulling over when they had a few parking lots that they could have pulled into."
In his report, the officer noted Romeo "was moving around a lot" as he walked up to speak with him. The officer also said he could immediately smell marijuana when he walked up the driver's side of the vehicle and that the driver, later identified as Romeo, seemed "overly nervous."
"As I was speaking to the driver ... I could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside the vehicle," the officer wrote in his report. "I also observed that Richard's hands were shaking and his breathing was labored, a common sign of an overly nervous person."
When the officer asked Romeo if he had anything illegal with him, Romeo reportedly admitted to having a quarter of an ounce of marijuana in his pocket. Romeo also had $1,182 in his pockets — $960 was found in a bank envelope in his front right pocket and $222 was found in his front left pocket.
Because of the contraband found in Romeo's pockets and Romeo allegedly confessing to the possibility of other contraband being located inside the vehicle, the officer decided to search Romeo's vehicle, according to the affidavit.
"Before conducting a probable cause search of the vehicle, due to there being contraband being found on Richard and the possibility of there being more contraband in the vehicle, I asked Richard if there was anything in the car," the officer wrote in his report. "He sated, 'probably so.'"
Upon searching the vehicle, authorities also found methamphetamine and money rolled up in a blue sock. According to court documents, the $2,496 found in the sock was rolled up into three separate bundles of $100 bills, $20 bills and $5 and $1 bills. According to the affidavit, "this method of separating money by denomination is very common to find when dealing with narcotics distribution, as it makes for quicker counting and exchange."
According to the affidavit, Romeo told officers he intended to deliver the meth to a friend.
"I retrieved the container [found on the floorboard] from the car ... [and] asked Richard what was in the container, he stated it was methamphetamine," the affidavit reads. "He stated that he was going to meet with some friends. He stated that the friends he was meeting wanted some meth and he knew were to get some."
As of press time Monday, a court date had not yet been set in this case.
Online records show Romeo has posted a $16,835 bond since his Friday arrest.