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Wednesday, July 06, 2022

CLAS professor arrested on drug charge

A UF anthropology professor was arrested Saturday night after he admitted to trying to trade cocaine for sexual favors from another man.

Michael Heckenberger, UF's 2005 Teacher of the Year for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, threw down a small plastic bag near the 900 block of Northwest Fourth Place after he saw a Gainesville Police Department car.

The bag, picked up by GPD officer Steve Jones, field tested positive for cocaine, according to the GPD arrest report.

After he was arrested, Heckenberger, 46, said the cocaine he carried was not his. According to the report, Heckenberger told Jones he planned on trading the cocaine for sexual favors from a man.

Because he was discovered about 450 feet away from the Progressive Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Heckenberger, was charged with the sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a church.

Heckenberger was placed on administrative leave and a substitute will temporarily take over his classes, said UF spokesman Steve Orlando.

The university has not received the arrest report and still needs more information, Orlando said.

Heckenberger won the College of Liberal Arts and Science's Teacher of the Year Award in 2005 and has taught at UF since 1999.

According to the resume on his Web site, Heckenberger's work was recognized in publications such as the New Yorker, Scientific American, MSNBC and CNN.

He also worked with the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, according to his Web site.

Heckenberger was released from jail Monday on a $25,000 bond.

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