Delivery driver for Franklin County elementary school arrested with suspected pot, fentanyl, gun and cash

Franklin County Sheriff's Office / Christopher James Duncan, of Huntsville, Ala.
Franklin County Sheriff's Office / Christopher James Duncan, of Huntsville, Ala.

A produce driver making a delivery to Sewanee Elementary School was busted by a Franklin County, Tennessee, school resource officer based on the suspected smell of marijuana as the truck passed by last week, authorities there said.

When school resource officer Josh Alexander was welcoming students Thursday morning at the school, a delivery truck passed by leaving what the officer believed to be the odor of marijuana, according to a statement from Franklin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Sam Davidson.

Alexander spoke to the delivery driver, Christopher James Duncan, of Huntsville, Alabama, who allegedly confirmed there were illegal drugs in the truck, according to Davidson. A search of the cab produced 7.6 ounces of suspected fentanyl, nine ounces of suspected marijuana, a 9mm handgun and $4,463 in cash, he said.

Duncan is charged with possession of a schedule I controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell; possession of a schedule VI controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell; unlawful possession of a weapon; and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to authorities. Duncan also is charged with a drug-free school zone violation, which under state law can enhance criminal penalties upon conviction on associated charges.

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Franklin County Sheriff Tim Fuller said investigators didn't find any suspected drugs in the company's produce containers. According to investigators, Duncan had already made stops at Cowan Elementary School, which has children from pre-K through fifth grade, and Huntland Schools, which has children from pre-K through 12th grade, before he got the Sewanee Elementary, a kindergarten through fifth-grade school.


"He delivered products, but there was no indication that any drugs were delivered," Fuller said Monday in a phone interview.

The items delivered have been isolated and seized as part of the investigation, he said.

The sheriff said Duncan was interviewed by detectives.

"But I don't know what the contents of that interview is yet," he said.

The investigation is ongoing, he said.

Authorities said the delivery truck belongs to Forestwood Farm Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, where a company leader said he was shocked to learn of the incident.

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"We've been in business for 40 years and never had this problem before," company president Randy Scott said Monday in a phone interview. "Background checks, drugs screens, there was no problem."

Duncan was terminated following the arrest, Scott said.

"He's no longer employed here, and we'll continue our best to keep anything like this from happening again," he said. "We're working with authorities."

Scott said company officials only know the same information media has been told about the investigation. He said people have been understanding of the situation.

Meanwhile, Duncan is being held on a $250,000 bond and faces an appearance Jan. 23 in Franklin County General Sessions Court. Court officials said Duncan had no lawyer on record as of Monday.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.