RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A school bus driver has pleaded not guilty after a grand jury in Suffolk County indicted her for allegedly selling heroin.
Anna Kovarick, 38, of Bay Shore is accused of selling heroin in between bus runs for St. John the Baptist High School, Bridges Academy and Our Lady of Lourdes in the West Islip area, according to prosecutors. She was arrested on April 10.
She allegedly carried out the drug deals with the guidance of her jailed boyfriend, Robert Persad. He allegedly coached Kovarick from a jailhouse phone on where and how to make sales.
“It’s absolutely awful to hear about. I’m an alumni of the school, so I don’t really like to hear that at all,” Seth Powers told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
According to the indictment, Kovarick sold to undercover officers two times from her personal car in a bus depot.
“She would pick the students up and bring them to school and then park her bus at the depot and go out and sell heroin,” District Attorney Thomas Spota said. “In the afternoon, she’d go back to the school in the bus and then return the kids home, and after her afternoon route go out again and sell more heroin.”
She’s accused of selling 200 to 300 bags every three days, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.
There was no evidence Kovarick drove the bus while under the influence of the drug and did not sell heroin to any students, Spota said.
“She’s never been arrested before, she’s worked at Acme [bus company] for 16 years, she’s never had any issues there. There’s no confession here, they didn’t recover any money. I mean, they’re claiming that she’s this major drug dealer and they’ve recovered no money,” defense attorney Christopher Cassar told Hall. “We all feel the case is as strong as the government has presented.”
Kovarick’s friends cried in court as prosecutors detailed four months of alleged dealing, Gusoff reported.
“Never had a problem with the bus company or anything like, she’s got a very good reputation in the community, her character is outstanding,” said Cassar.
Kovarick’s neighbors said they had no idea she was allegedly moonlighting as a heroin dealer.
“I think it’s sickening and that lady in specific, she was nasty as is,” Bay Shore resident Rachel Ehrhardt said. “I just graduated high school and a lot of kids my senior year, everyone, a lot of people started doing it.”
Kovarick and her boyfriend were both indicted on charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance. A third man was also indicted for allegdly supplying the heroin.
Kovarick has been suspended by the Acme bus company. She is being held on $100,000 bond.
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