Drug smuggling case heads to trial.

July 18, 2016

Rachelle Fitch with her attorney, Julie Springstead Waltz. Oceana County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Shari Sailor is pictured in the background.

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By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 43-year-old Hart woman who allegedly smuggled drugs inside her body into the Oceana County Jail that she stole from the adult foster care home where she was living asked 27th Circuit Court Judge Anthony A. Monton for a jail term instead of a prison sentence Monday, July 18, during her sentencing. Monton denied Rachelle Joyce Fitch’s request and set the matter for trial.

Fitch pleaded “no contest” to larceny in a building last month. Her plea was withdrawn Monday, and the trial is scheduled for Sept. 14 and 15.

One count of furnishing contraband to prisoners was dismissed in a plea agreement last month, but Fitch now faces that count in light of Monday’s proceedings.

Fitch was going to be sentenced to one year and one day in prison, but she begged the judge to place her in jail for one year instead.

Fitch, who is on parole allegedly smuggled drugs into the Oceana County Jail that she stole from the Fessenden AFC home, at 412 Hart St., by inserting nearly 70 pills inside her vaginal canal.

She broke into a locked medication cabinet where medications were stored at the AFC home, according to the police report. Fitch stole several items from other residents of the home, including a cell phone.

Fitch was lodged in the jail on a parole detainer after testing positive for opiates, according to the police report. When she became “lethargic and had trouble maintaining consciousness,” she was transported to Mercy Lakeshore Hospital in Shelby for a possible overdose, the report states.

“Fitch had smuggled in prescription medication into the jail via insertion of the pills into her vaginal canal,” the report states. The ER nurse found 69 total pills, including two capsules of temazepam, two pills of diazepam, 17 hydrocodone pills, nine morphine pills, 29 lorazepam pills and 10 oxybutynin pills wrapped in tissue paper inside her body.

Fitch was paroled April 19 after serving time for sentences issued in Mason County for possession of analogues and obtaining controlled substances by fraud, according to the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS). She has served previous prison terms for possession of marijuana, possession of a narcotic or cocaine less than 25 grams and delivery/manufacture of cocaine less than 50 grams.

Attorney Julie Springstead Waltz said her client has “been trying to align herself with several different treatment programs” and “putting her back in prison does not solve the problem.” She described Fitch as having “a long history of substance abuse. She is so regretful of her actions that got her here today. Prison just clearly has not worked so far.”

“Every time I beg for help, the result is always lock me back up,” Fitch said to Monton. “My life isn’t over — I am a survivor. If you would give me this opportunity, it would not be vain. I have slipped through the cracks so many times because of addiction. I’m so much more than that record that you have in front of you.”

“County jail is not all that great for providing treatment,” Monton said. “Please don’t misunderstand that I think you are are worthless human being.”

“I have to go before the parole board,” Fitch said if she returns to the prison system. “It won’t be a year and a day,” she said of the longer sentence that would likely be imposed.

“A year and a day ends today,” Monton said.

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