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Holland teacher pleads guilty to selling meth

A special-education teacher at Holland Central Junior-Senior High School admitted Thursday in court that he sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer four times last year.

Daniel J. Ellis, 37, of Davis Road, West Falls, pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to four felony counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Three of the sales occurred Nov. 17, Dec. 1 and Dec. 15 inside the duplex that Ellis splits with his parents, while the fourth took place Dec. 8 on Niagara Street in Buffalo, according to Assistant District Attorney John P. Gerken Jr.

As a condition of the guilty plea, Gerken told the court, Ellis resigned from his teaching position, effective Thursday. He had taught at the school for 12 years.

Gerken said authorities have requested restitution for the $2,400 that the undercover officer paid Ellis for the four drug purchases.

There was no indication that Ellis had sold any drugs to students, investigators said.

Holland School Superintendent Cathy Fabiatos said Ellis was immediately placed on administrative leave in December after the district learned that he had been arrested following the drug sales.

“These incidents did not occur on school property nor involve any students,” she said.

Ellis faces up to nine years in prison on each drug count when he is sentenced June 17.

Judge Michael L. D’Amico indicated he would sentence Ellis to no more than two years in prison and two years of post-release supervision.

District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said Ellis was one of the targets of a joint investigation into the sale of methamphetamine throughout out Western New York.

The probe involved the State Police Special Investigations Unit, the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Unit and Homeland Security Investigations.