SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. -- A former Pop Warner football coach, who had been linked to heroin sales in Rockland and Orange counties, has pleaded guilty to drug possession, according to district attorney Thomas P. Zugibe.
Theodore Holmes, a 50-year-old Middletown resident and parolee, coached a football team based in Spring Valley, Zugibe said.
"This defendant is the last person you would want coaching young athletes," said Zugibe. "When we encounter a case such as this, we will make it a priority to prosecute it to the fullest. Our community is yearning for solid role models and it’s a real tragedy when this trust is violated."
According to a 2015 report by lohud.com, the board overseeing the Ramapo/Spring Valley Hornets knew Holmes had convictions for drug dealing when they bought him on the team.
But the Hornets' president said he wanted to give Holmes a second chance and thought the athlete could use his past mistakes as a teaching tool in a way that would benefit the kids, a lohud.com story said.
Holmes was arrested last July in Blooming Grove after leading police on a car chase with a 13-year-old football player in the backseat, Zugibe said.
Before he crashed his car on Route 17 and was caught, Holmes ordered the teen to toss the heroin -- which Holmes had just purchased from a supplier in Spring Valley -- out of the car window, the district attorney said.
Zugibe said Holmes was targeted as part of an undercover operation in 2015 run by the Rockland County Drug Task Force and dubbed “Operation Money Mike.”
According to the district attorney, police went after Holmes after investigators heard him on the phone as he ordered heroin from a supplier in Spring Valley.
Holmes was caught while driving back to Orange County, Zugibe said.
The heroin which he had ordered the teen to toss was recovered, police said.
Holmes subsequently pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, Zugibe said.
He was sent to Rockland County Jail and is due to be sentenced in August.
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