Wilmington woman receives three-year prison term for delivering heroin


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@civitasmedia.com



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WILMINGTON — A local woman, who apparently thought she could not go to prison on a first drug trafficking conviction, learned otherwise when she recently received a three-year prison term.

Russella Dawn Bennett, 28, of Wilmington, was convicted of trafficking in heroin, stemming from a traffic stop in town this summer about 1:35 a.m. Saturday, June 25.

According to an affidavit by a Wilmington police detective, K9 Karson came to the Columbus Street scene of the traffic stop to perform a sniff of the vehicle. The WPD police dog alerted to the presence of narcotics inside the vehicle, the affidavit stated.

When an officer told Bennett she was going to be patted down by a female Ohio State Patrol trooper, Bennett hesitated and then pulled one bag of brown powder from inside her shorts, according to the affidavit.

She told officers she had bought the substance in Dayton for $700, and did not want to say who she purchased it from, added the affidavit.

While she was speaking with the local officers, one of them had to leave when he was dispatched to a drug overdose, stated the police detective’s sworn affidavit.

Russella later told officers she does not use heroin, and drops it off to a person in Clinton County after she picks it up in Dayton.

She reportedly would not identify the Clinton County user, saying, “I’m no snitch and I will take the charge for it. You know I’m not going to jail because I have never been, so they can’t send me the first time,” the affidavit attributed to her.

After the detective commented people are dying from this heroin which usually is laced with fentanyl, Bennett reportedly replied, “That’s why I don’t use it, I just sell it.”

In his sentencing papers, Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck pointed to Bennett’s statement as evidence she understood her activity — trafficking heroin that might be laced with fentanyl — could result in death to the user.

Results from the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab indicated the brown powder in the seized bag tested positive for heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, with a weight of 15.2 grams, said law enforcement.

Rudduck wrote, in his sentencing document, that Bennett “demonstrates a callous attitude regarding her commission of this crime completely oblivious to the harm she personally was causing to this community.”

The judge added, “She admits to no substance use disorder and acknowledges her sole purpose in committing this crime was to supplement her $10.00 per hour job. By her own words, she defines what this court believes is an offender who needs to be removed from society to protect society.”

She was sent to the Ohio Reformatory for Women, and received credit toward her prison term for the 87 days she spent in the county jail on the case.

In other recent sentencings in Clinton County felony cases:

Terri L. Reed, 28, of Wilmington, was sentenced to two years of community controls for aggravated robbery.

Travis M. Davis, 33, of Leipsic, Ohio, was sentenced to six months in prison for aggravated possession of drugs, to run concurrently with a Warren County sentence. He was credited with 42 days in jail.

Andie L. Cox, 22, of Washington Court House, was sentenced to seven months in prison for heroin trafficking, receiving 19 days credit for time spent in the county jail. Also, her operator’s license is suspended for six months, and she must pay $125 restitution to the Greater Warren County Drug Task Force.

Gary W. Staggs, 46, of Clarksville, was sentenced to a six-month suspended jail term for possessing a controlled substance. He must pay court costs and a $25 public defender fee.

Kaylea Nicole Burdette, 26, of Hamilton, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, with credit for 271 days served in jail, for attempted tampering with evidence and for failing to appear in court. Her prior community controls sentence is revoked.

Karen S. Cline (also known as Karen Jones), 23, of Wilmington, has had her community controls sentence revoked. She now will serve a 12-month prison term (with credit for 118 days in jail) for convictions on two counts of aggravated trafficking in drugs and for one count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

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By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@civitasmedia.com