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Santa Clara Principal Facing Drug Charges Had Hidden Cameras At Home

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Eric Dean Lewis

Eric Lewis (Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office)

SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — A Santa Clara elementary school principal arrested on drug charges last week had 10 hidden cameras in his apartment, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Eric Dean Lewis, 42, principal of Montague Elementary School, was arrested around 4 p.m. Thursday at the San Francisco Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets after he allegedly offered to provide drugs to an undercover officer who had contacted him through an online dating site, Deputy District Attorney Daniel Rothbach said in court Monday.

Later that night, members of the Santa Clara County drug task force that arrested Lewis searched his home and found small surveillance cameras hidden in items including the nose of a teddy bear, a lighter and a coat hanger, Rothbach said.

Lewis appeared in Santa Clara County Superior Court on Monday afternoon and asked Judge Jerome Nadler to be referred to the public defender’s office.

He has been charged with five felonies for drug sales and possession, plus a misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Lewis has been placed on unpaid administrative leave from his job.

The sting that led to Lewis’ arrest was set up after the interagency Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team received information that Lewis was involved in drugs and frequented the dating site, California Department of Justice spokeswoman Michelle Gregory said.

Lewis did not have drugs on him at the time of his arrest, but a search of his San Francisco home uncovered around a quarter-ounce of methamphetamine, seven ecstasy pills, and several vials of GHB and scales, Gregory said.

Investigators believe he was both using and dealing drugs, she said.

Rothbach said investigators have seized several computers, including some from Lewis’ home and at least one from the Montague Elementary School campus.

The prosecutor said Tuesday that investigators have found texts related to methamphetamine and GHB on Lewis’ phone.

Since Lewis’ arrest, Barbara Friedenbach, a veteran teacher and curriculum developer with the school district, has taken over as interim principal at Montague.

Lewis is being held in Santa Clara County Jail on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to return court on Sept. 28.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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