Girls accused of spiking teacher's soda with hot pepper face 3 weeks in custody



DELTONA, Fla. - Three 12-year-old Deltona Middle School students face felony charges after spiking a soda with spicy hot pepper, sickening their teacher, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.

A judge ordered the girls to remain in custody for at least 21 days during a hearing Saturday morning.

The incident happened earlier this week, but deputies learned it Thursday and arrested the girls Friday, the Sheriff's Office said.

Marjorie Garrido-Herrera, 12, sought revenge after she was disciplined by her teacher, Jayne Morgan, 52, Monday, deputies said.

Morgan sent Garrido-Herrera to the principal’s office, because she said the student dumped glue into another student’s backpack and was suspected of stealing a laptop.

That’s what sparked Garrido-Herrera to bring hot crushed red pepper flakes to school the following day to pour in Morgan's soda, deputies said.

Morgan’s throat became hot and scratchy after drinking the soda, and she started to feel a shortness of breath, a report said. Morgan poured the soda into a cup and noticed the red pepper flakes.

The teacher suffered stomach pains and a sore throat for the rest of the day.

Deputies discovered two other students were involved in the incident: Leisy Llanes-Pupo and Cristal Tejeda-Castro.

Llanes-Pupo allegedly dumped the pepper into the can after Garrido-Herrera handed her the soda, while Cristal Tejeda-Castro distracted Morgan.

Garrido-Herrera and Llanes-Pupo are being charged with poisoning food or water and tampering with consumer products. Cristal is being charged with tampering with consumer products and being a principal to poisoning food or water.

Morgan told Channel 9 she nearly died from an allergic reaction.

She said in a statement, “My students and I are very close. For the sake of education, for the sake of my school, other teachers in the classroom, and for the sake of students themselves, children need to know there is a right and a wrong. This is illegal. I could have died.”

All charges are felonies.