A Ketchikan day care facility has been shut down after its owner was charged with felony drug possession on the premises.
A Children’s Place at the Mary Frances Building downtown is owned by Ashley Perin Sandoval. The 32-year-old proprietor had her first court appearance Aug. 30.
Sgt. Eric Mattson of the Ketchikan Police Department said Friday that the investigation began in early August, after police received a tip.
Mattson said police served a search warrant at the day care on Aug. 2nd, shortly after all the kids had been picked up. He said there were obvious signs of drug use in the back office.
“There was a meth pipe with residue, an IV type needle, tin foil, a … straw that was modified into a scoop, is what we call them,” he said. “All was indicative of methamphetamine use.”
Mattson said police found trace amounts of what they believed was methamphetamine, and a morphine-sulfate pill. He said none of the evidence was found in areas where the children played.
Because the trace amounts were so small, Mattson said police didn’t make an immediate arrest. They sent the evidence to the state crime lab for analysis.
The analysis allegedly confirmed that the trace evidence was methamphetamine, Mattson said. A summons was issued on Aug. 15th for Sandoval to appear in court on charges of second- and fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.
Mattson said the charge of second-degree misconduct stems from the location of the alleged crime. He cited a state statute, “that has the verbiage essentially, where if it’s on school grounds or a shelter-type place for children, that aggravates the possession crime into a more serious felony.”
Mattson said there was no evidence found that indicated dealing or selling drugs.
He said local police kept in contact with the state day care licensing board. When the summons was issued, “On their behalf, we received some paperwork from them and shut down the day care for them.”
A Children’s Place day care formerly was called First City Kid Care. The previous owner, Kimmie Stacy, announced in a public Facebook post in March of this year that she had sold the business.
Sandoval’s next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 19th in Ketchikan District Court.
This report has been edited to clarify the charges are for “possession.”