School bus driver charged in drug case

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By Carol A. Clark

A swarm of undercover agents wearing SWAT-like attire, and black hoods revealing just their eyes, raided a Western Area home Thursday afternoon.

 Information developed through an investigation by the state’s Region III multi-jurisdiction drug interdiction task force led the agents to 738 43rd St. where they arrested James Kovalenko.

They also confiscated 3 pounds of marijuana inside Kovalenko’s home for which he has been charged with one count of distribution of narcotics.

“We did locate weapons in the house … there were a multitude of guns … he didn’t offer any resistance … he’s apparently a gun collector … there’s no weapons charges,” task force leader State Police Lt. Juan Martinez said.

Kovalenko, 50, is a bus driver for the Los Alamos Public Schools.

“He worked for the district previously, left for a while, came back in 2007 and has been a bus driver ever since,” said Human Resources Manager James Telles this morning.

“We haven’t been officially notified of the arrest and until we are, we have placed Mr. Kovalenko on administrative leave. Once we are notified that he has been charged, he will be terminated immediately.”

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