Lexington teacher charged with marijuana trafficking, cultivation

A Fayette County middle school teacher was arrested on drug charges Monday night after police searched a home on Duval Street, police said.

Ashley Alyson Delaney, 28, is charged with trafficking a controlled substance within 1,000 yards of a school, cultivation of more than five marijuana plants and possession of drug paraphernalia, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Jeremy M. Byard, 31, who was with Delaney at the time of her arrest Monday evening, faces the same charges. Byard also was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Byard is employed at Brittin Tate Hair Studios in Lexington.

According to court reports, when police searched the house they found and seized 12 plants, a one-ounce bag of marijuana, digital scales, rolling papers and other paraphernalia. Also, Byard was found with a bottle of Suboxone tablets that were not his, the reports said.

Delaney has been suspended from her job as a seventh-grade language arts and arts-humanities teacher at Crawford Middle School pending an investigation by the school district, said Lisa Deffendall, spokeswoman for Fayette County Public Schools. Delaney, who is in her first year as a teacher, was a dance coach at Crawford Middle School.

Delaney has had no prior arrests, according to Fayette County court records. Delaney's "background check was clean," Deffendall said.

According to court records, Byard has previous drug-related arrests dating back to 2002. In 2005, he was arrested for cultivation of and trafficking marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to complete drug court.

Delaney is being held at the Fayette County jail on $12,350 bond; Byard is being held on a bond of $12,650. Both pleaded not guilty Wednesday and will reappear in court on March 16.