SAN DIEGO (CBS 8 / CNS) - The principal of Lee Elementary School in Paradise Hills was placed on leave following her weekend arrest on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs and a stolen gun, authorities reported Wednesday.
Rachel Yolanda Escobedo, 45, was arrested in the Rolando Park area on Saturday, according to San Diego police.
Shortly before 8:30 that evening, an officer responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle in the 6800 block of Missy Court found Escobedo sitting in her parked 1993 Honda Accord with a 60-year-old man, SDPD public-affairs Lt. Kevin Mayer said.
The patrolman spotted an open vodka bottle inside the vehicle and a small amount of what turned out to be marijuana in an ashtray, the lieutenant said.
After getting permission to search the car from Escobedo, who was in the driver's seat, the officer allegedly found a loaded .22-caliber pistol in the trunk, along with about two dozen prescription pills that appeared to be hydrocodone and four small baggies containing a white crystalline powder, Mayer said.
The apparent drugs were submitted for lab testing to positively identify them, he said, adding that a computer check showed that the handgun had been reported stolen.
Escobedo, a La Mesa resident, was taken into custody without incident on suspicion of illegally possessing a loaded firearm and controlled substances. Her companion, whose relationship to her was unclear, was released.
A neighbor of Escobedo says he's known her for more than 10 years and finds all of this very surprising.
"I know that she is so conscientious about her work and she talked about that a little to me, and I'm just shocked to hear that," said James Bayes.
The educator posted $25,000 bail the next day and was given a Sept. 17 arraignment date.
Escobedo worked her usual shift on Monday, as her supervisors had yet to learn of her arrest, said Jack Brandais, spokesman for San Diego Unified School District. She was suspended Tuesday pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Escobedo has worked for the district since 1996 as a primary school teacher and administrator. She has held her current post since May.
Retired SDUSD principal Judy Fogel agreed to fill in for Escobedo on a temporary basis, Brandais said.