Probation for Cudahy gym teacher who admitted to drinking before driving; drugs found in vehicle

Craig Mertes

MILWAUKEE COUNTY -- A Franklin man who is a gym teacher at Cudahy High School reached a plea deal Sept. 5 after drugs were located inside his vehicle during a traffic stop in August.

Craig Mertes, 32, on Sept. 5 pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges -- possession of THC and possession of amphetamine, LSD, psilocin. He was then sentenced to one year of probation. A third count, a felony charge of possession of methamphetamine, was dismissed as a result of the plea deal.

Craig Mertes

According to a criminal complaint, on Aug. 5, officers initiated a traffic stop in the area of Renaissance Boulevard and Enterprise Drive in the Village of Sturtevant for a traffic violation. Upon approaching the vehicle, the officer noted the odor of intoxicants coming from within the vehicle.

The complaint indicated Mertes, the driver and sole occupant, had the odor of intoxicants on his breath as he spoke. Prosecutors said he admitted to consuming alcohol at the Kenosha Country Club.

Mertes was asked to step out of vehicle and appeared to be "very nervous," according to the complaint. Field sobriety tests were administered -- which Mertes did not successfully complete.

At that time, another officer and her K-9 partner arrived on scene, and conducted an open-air sniff around the vehicle. The K-9 alerted to the presence of controlled substances within the vehicle. Officers then conducted a search of the vehicle.

In the vehicle, officers located a black duffel bag. The bag contained several plastic baggies, one which contained several gummy candies. Another baggie contained a white powdery substance. A third contained small strips of suspected LSD. That substance was not able to be tested. In the rear portion of the vehicle, officers located a powdery crystal substance.

Cudahy High School

According to the complaint, the gummies tested positive for the presence of THC. The white powdery substance tested positive for the presence of MDMA. The powdery crystal substance tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

No one answered when FOX6 News stopped by Mertes' home in Franklin on Aug. 12. Neighbors were shocked and saddened to learn the news. They said they never noticed any signs of drugs in the year they'd known Mertes.

The School District of Cudahy superintendent declined to comment on Mertes' employment status at that time. As of Saturday, Sept. 28, Mertes still appeared on the school district's website, listed as a teacher in the district.