- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A high-level Prince George’s County public schools administrator has been indicted for her role in a multi-million dollar, international drug ring out of the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

Pamela Yvette Hoffler-Riddick, regional assistant superintendent for the county’s Region 3, was named in a 324-count indictment unsealed Monday by federal prosecutors.

Three dozen persons were named in the indictment, which stated the ring handled more than $20 million worth of cocaine and marijuana from September 1996 to Jan. 14.

Mrs. Hoffler-Riddick, 43, who served extensively as a school administrator in the Hampton Roads area before moving to the metropolitan area, is accused in court papers of depositing large sums of money into banks and credit unions.

Further details are expected to be announced today by Paul J. McNulty, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Virginia.

Numerous Prince George’s political and school officials did not return calls last night for comment.

John R. Bailer, a county school board member, had little to say about the situation, though he aware of Mrs. Hoffler-Riddick’s indictment.

“We’ll see how it all unfolds,” he said.

Ernest Morgan, who belongs to the Prince George’s County PTA, was more blunt.

“I’m at a loss of words to describe how I feel about a person accused of doing that,” he said. “I don’t know if there was a breakdown in the system or what happened. It’s very, very serious.”

Mr. Morgan said he could recall no other scandal involving such serious criminal charges reaching so high into the school system’s hierarchy.

“There has never been a case in Prince George’s like this that I can think of,” he said.

It has been a difficult year for the school district. The arrest announcement follows an inquiry into ethical practices of the school district’s top official, Chief Executive Officer Andre J. Hornsby.

The investigation was related to possible ties between Mr. Hornsby and school system vendors.

Mrs. Hoffler-Riddick, who was hired by Mr. Hornsby in 2003 at a salary of $120,120, previously had been employed as a community superintendent in Montgomery County before being elevated to associate superintendent for shared accountability. She also had worked for the Baltimore school system as executive director for intervention services.

Region 3 in Prince George’s County covers 24 elementary schools, six middle schools and five high schools. The high schools are Central High School in Capitol Heights, Charles H. Flowers High School in Springdale, Forestville Military Academy, Largo High School in Upper Marlboro, and Suitland High School in Forestville.

The drug ring was broken by a regional task force in Virginia called the Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, made up of the Newport News, Hampton and Poquoson police departments, the Virginia State Police, local commonwealth’s attorneys, and federal agents from several groups.

Authorities say the drug and money-laundering ring handled more than 10,000 pounds of marijuana, more than 660 pounds of cocaine, and 44 pounds of crack cocaine.

Buyers extended from Virginia to Texas and New York. Officials said the source of the drugs was Mexico, but caches were stored at numerous locations in Hampton Roads awaiting shipment to buyers.

Authorities began taking people into custody Monday, but they could not say yesterday how many people named in the indictment were under arrest.

Sources close to the investigation said much of the case was based on testimony of four gang members arrested last year who agreed to cooperate in the probe.

Jerry Seper contributed to this report.

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