Former Chester High teacher, wife charged with growing 190 pot plants in home

jmcfadden@heraldonline.comJuly 25, 2013 

— A Chester High School teacher facing trafficking marijuana charges had already resigned from his job by the time deputies searched the house he shared with his wife and found more than 100 pounds of marijuana in three separate rooms.

James Melvin Banks, a former Junior ROTC teacher, and his wife, Alison Banks, have been charged with trafficking marijuana, according to the Chester County Sheriff’s Office.

Last week, deputies took a search warrant to 1100 Pineview Lakes Road in Chester, where they found 193 pot plants in the house, said Chester County Sheriff’s Maj. Mary Anne Tolbert.

Deputies then secured arrest warrants for the Bankses, who were out of town while deputies searched the home, Tolbert said.

James Banks, 50, turned himself in to police on Tuesday; Alison Banks, 35, turned herself in on Wednesday.

Banks already had resigned from the school district by the time charges were filed, said Brooke Clinton, Chester schools spokeswoman.

School district officials have not received any information from investigators that drugs might have leaked into the schools, she said. “At this point, it 100 percent has nothing to do with our schools,” she said. “It’s not a school-related issue.”

James and Alison Banks have been released on $25,000 bonds each, police said.

Jonathan McFadden •  803-329-4082

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