School Officials Dealing Drugs to Children

The principal of Nitschmann Middle School was arrested Tuesday and charged with dealing crystal methamphetamine. Police say they found the drug in the principal’s office at the Bethlehem, Pa. school.

John Acerra, 50, of Allentown faces felony charges of possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and delivery of methamphetamine, and misdemeanor charges of possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance and possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia. He is currently being held in Lehigh County Prison with bail set at $200,000.

In early February, an informant told police that the principal had been using and selling meth for several months. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Allentown began their investigation of Acerra shortly after receiving the tip. Officials say investigation of this case was expedited due to Acerra’s position with the school.

Court documents state that the police watched Acerra sell a small amount of meth to a customer in a Kmart parking lot in Allentown. The police stopped the buyer who cooperated with them and disclosed that he had been to Acerra’s home 10-15 times over the past three months to purchase the drug. He also stated that he had seen drug-use paraphernalia in the home each time as well as seeing a known meth supplier present on several occasions.

Police orchestrated two more delivery transactions between their informant and Acerra. On Saturday an informant met Acerra in the parking lot of a CVS in Allentown and purchased $200 of meth. On Tuesday, police arranged for the informant to wear a listening device as he met with Acerra for another $200 deal, this time inside the principal’s office at the middle school.

After the transaction was complete and the informant left the building, police entered Nitschmann Middle School and discovered Acerra sitting in his office with a bag of meth and a glass tube with meth residue and burn marks. The marked money used in the arranged deal was also on his desk.

According to Agent Dennis Mihalopoulos with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Allentown office, there is no evidence that Acerra sold crystal methamphetamine to students.

Bethlehem school superintendent Joseph Lewis says that a letter about the incident was sent to parents and that teachers have spoken with the students. Lewis states that he is “saddened and troubled by these events. I offer no explanation. There is none.”