By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – A Yukon woman has been convicted of a felony after trying to hide drugs inside the Canadian County Jail.
Melissa Marie Bennett, 37, recently pleaded guilty to bringing contraband into jail institution.
Bennett was charged in Canadian County District Court with the felony crime after being caught April 23 with methamphetamine at the county’s detention center.
She was being booked into jail on drug and traffic charges after being stopped by a sheriff’s deputy for driving a vehicle without an exhaust system, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Bennett was pat searched by a detention officer in the jail booking area.
This search produced a clear plastic baggie containing a white crystal-like substance found in Bennett’s brassiere, the court affidavit shows. The substance weighed 5 grams and tested positive for methamphetamine.
Bennett, represented by attorney Karla Tankut, appeared by video from the Canadian County Jail for a Nov. 4 court hearing.
She waived her right to a trial and pleaded guilty to bringing the drugs into jail and possessing a controlled dangerous substance, according to the court minute.
Canadian County District Judge Paul Hesse accepted the plea and found Bennett guilty on both counts.
Pursuant to a plea agreement, the defendant was sentenced to serve five years in state Department of Corrections’ custody – all suspended except for the first 60 days in the Canadian County Jail, with credit for time served.
Bennett also was ordered to pay $85 in fines and $85 in victims’ compensation assessments.
She will be supervised by the Canadian County District Attorney’s Office upon her release from jail.
Bennett was facing one to five years in state prison and/or a $100-$1,000 fine on the jail contraband charge.
Possession of CDS, a misdemeanor, is punishable by not more than one year in prison and a maximum $1,000 fine.
SOME BAD TROUBLE
The bad trouble started for Bennett at 4:13 a.m. April 23 when Canadian County sheriff’s deputy Austin Albrecht pulled over a Dodge 1500 pickup on State Highway 81 just south of Jones Road.
The truck was stopped because it “appeared to not have any form of an exhaust system,” according to the affidavit signed by Albrecht.
The Yukon woman admitted that her boyfriend had removed the exhaust system from her vehicle.
Bennett admitted she did not have any identification. Sheriff’s deputies further learned her driver’s license was suspended, and her insurance and vehicle’s registration had expired.
While conducting an inventory of the vehicle, deputy Leonard Anderson found a small clear baggie containing marijuana in the driver’s door pocket.
Meanwhile, deputy Albrecht learned Bennett had an active warrant with the Valley Brook Police Department on a previous felony drug charge.
Having already warned Bennett about keeping illegal items on her person, Albrecht brought her to the Canadian County Jail to await pick-up by a Valley Brook officer.
Bennett was persistent that she did not have anything illegal on her. However, the meth was found in her bra when she was searched during the booking process inside the county lock-up.