STATESVILLE, N.C. (WJZY) — A teacher at a Statesville middle school was arrested on multiple drug-related charges Monday after authorities say staff members smelled marijuana coming from his classroom. 

According to the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, staff members at Third Creek Middle School noticed a “very strong odor” of marijuana coming from a classroom. They immediately asked the School Resource Officer to investigate the complaint.  

When the deputy entered the classroom, he reportedly noticed the odor coming from around the teacher’s desk. When asked about the scent, Thobani Viki, a substitute teacher, made statements about possessing marijuana, the sheriff’s office said. 

Viki, 30, is not an Iredell-Statesville School System (ISS) employee and is employed through Educational Staffing Solutions, which contracts with ISS to fill positions within the school system. He has been working at the school through the agency for 13 days, ISS said.

The sheriff’s office said a search of Viki’s belongings located marijuana, several packages of marijuana cigarette materials and four cans of Twisted Hard Iced Tea, which is 5 percent alcohol by volume. 

Viki was arrested at the school and transported to the Iredell County Detention Center. He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana paraphernalia and possession of a malt beverage on school property, all misdemeanors.

He was issued a $10,000 secured bond on these charges. Viki is currently on probation for DWI Level 5 out of Alamance County. 

“I am proud of the fast actions of Third Creek Middle School staff members as well as the investigation conducted by our School Resource Officer,” Sheriff Campbell said. “This is a prime example of why having SROs at every school is so vital to the safety and security of our schools.”

ISS released the following statement about Viki’s status with the school district.

“Thobani Viki served as a substitute teacher for 13 days at Third Creek Middle School. Viki
was hired in March 2023 by Education Staffing Solutions (ESS), a company
Iredell-Statesville Schools contracted with in February 2021 to manage and staff

“Due to this incident, Iredell-Statesville Schools is reviewing the safety process and
procedures taken by ESS before an employee is cleared to be in our buildings.
Iredell-Statesville Schools is committed to keeping the safety of our students and staff as a
top priority.”