NORTH MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A school bus driver on Long Island has been arrested on charges that he sold heroin, police said Tuesday.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, police said Maldane Cockett, 26, faces charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Parents of school-aged children in Massapequa and Copiague appeared angry and frustrated upon learning that Cockett, a driver for Educational Bus Transportation, has been accused of drug dealing.
“I’m just like speechless, because it’s terrible,” one woman said. “They’re taking of our children.”
The bust came around 8 p.m. Monday in North Massapequa, according to the Nassau Suffolk Heroin Task Force.
Cockett was allegedly caught selling heroin to a buyer. He declined comment after posting bail of $12,500.
“This is proof that the heroin crisis knows absolutely no boundaries, and it has the potential to impact you even if you’re not a heroin user,” said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family and Children’s Association.
Detectives have been beefing up patrols to catch the dealers in an attempt to help young addicts, as heroin ravages the suburbs.
“Parents would be quite upset and quite concerned with this,” said Nassau County police Lt. Richard LeBrun. “You know, nobody would like their bus driver to be dealing or purchasing any type of drugs or heroin, and possibly using them.”
Parents said they hope more could be done.
“That is absolutely disgusting,” said Adela Smith of Massapequa. “I have children who take the bus. That is horrible.”
“Are you kidding me? Why don’t they scrutinize the employees more carefully?” said grandmother Barbara Milano of Massapequa.
Educational Bus Transportation released a statement condemning the alleged behavior.
“We act immediately if we suspect a driver is involved in illegal activity. Additionally, our drivers undergo a rigorous hiring process and are randomly tested for drugs and alcohol for the duration of their employment. We are cooperating fully with the authorities in this matter. As is our policy following an arrest, the driver has been removed from service pending outcome of the charges,” a spokesperson said.
Cockett pleaded not guilty, and has been removed from service pending outcome of the charges.