Salinas police are continuing their investigation of charges that a school volunteer bought drugs on the North Salinas High School campus. A North Salinas High School assistant baseball coach was arrested for allegedly buying cocaine on school property.
It was an anonymous tip that sent Salinas police undercover. The assistant high school coach who was arrested is 55 years of age and a volunteer coach for the baseball team. Wednesday at about 4 p.m., while spring sports activities were going on, police say a cocaine deal was going down.
The "no smoking" or "chewing tobacco" signs that line the sports fields at North Salinas High are a clear indication of the strict no-tolerance philosophy, but police say the volunteer coach baseball coach crossed the line.
"We observed what they believe to be a drug transaction where some type of money was exchanged for drugs," said Vincent Maiorana, investigations commander.
The alleged drug deal happened in the parking lot behind the baseball field just yards away from from where kids practice and play games for spring sports. Salinas police arrested the volunteer coach, Ronald Stevens, and the alleged dealer, Alberto Manriquez. After searching the men's residences, investigators say they found that Stevens' son, Sean, also was in possession of cocaine and he was arrested. Police say they take this drug deal even more seriously because of where and when it happened.
"In regards to this activity happening on schools, that is something that we take much more serious as opposed to someone standing on a corner. This has kids involved, and the level of seriousness is higher," said Maiorana.
The principal of North Salinas High said he was advised by the superintendent to not go on camera but he did provide me with this written statement.
"At the time of arrest, the coach was a volunteer for the baseball program and has been such since 2010. the coach was not a paid employee of the school but was a walk on volunteer. As with all coaches, volunteer or paid, each is subjected to mandatory coaching certification as well as a clearance through the district finger printing process. "
The principal also said the "no tolerance for drugs" policy for students and teachers should apply for volunteers as well.
The principal opted not to comment on whether there would be an increase in security in light of Wednesday's arrest. The Salinas police declined to say if they would continue to monitor the area for drug dealing activities.