A former addict who won praise for turning his life around to preach against drugs to schools and youth groups faces charges of selling narcotics in a sting operation, police said.

Kendall Farris, 47, was charged Thursday after allegedly selling $480 worth of methamphetamine and Ecstasy pills to an undercover detective, said Redondo Beach police Sgt. Shawn Freeman.

Farris is the chief executive of the Over the Wall Foundation, which he co-founded in 2007 after overcoming 15 years of drug and alcohol abuse that landed him in prison. He was convicted of various crimes, including robbery, theft and forgery, which he said he committed to fund his drug habit, according to the foundation's Web site.

Farris was arrested Tuesday after he met a detective at a Starbucks and allegedly sold him an envelope of pills, which turned out to be rock salt and antihistamine with the brand name scraped off, Freeman said.

Betsy Spier, a marriage and family therapist who is on the foundation's board of directors, said she was shocked by Farris' arrest. She did not know if Farris had relapsed or needed money, but she said he had been having trouble sustaining the foundation.

Farris' calendar of appearances had no events scheduled since January.

"It's been very quiet," Spier said. "The economy is so bad and starting up an organization is really hard. It hadn't gotten nonprofit status yet."

While in prison, Farris wrote a book, "Drugs, Kids and Crime: Surviving our Drug Obsessed Culture," which drew attention from schools, youth groups, and colleges.

After his release, Farris started giving talks about his experience and developed a workshop program that has been endorsed by the Los Angeles Unified School District's Health Education Department and board of advisers, and the Los Angeles County Department of Education, according to the Web site.

Police said Farris was living in a West Hollywood motel, but older press releases on the Web site said he lived in Thousand Oaks.

Attempts to locate an attorney for Farris were not successful.