For her alleged involvement in distributing methamphetamine throughout the area, including an incident that culminated in a law enforcement officer’s exposure to the drug, a Wooster woman faces a host of federal criminal charges.

Samantha Foster, 30, of 2222 Melrose Drive, Apt. 123, Wooster, was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court with conspiring to possess and distribute methamphetamine and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person.

The charges stem from incidents on Sept. 23, Nov. 11, Jan. 9, Jan. 30 and Jan. 31 in Wayne, Holmes and Stark counties.

She is accused of possessing large quantities of meth, heroin, prescription drugs, cash, drug packaging materials, and, on two occasions, guns. On one occasion, she agreed to sell a confidential informant meth, according to the indictment. 

Because of Foster’s activity across a broad geographical area, local law enforcement worked with federal agents to investigate and bring charges indicative of the larger picture of her involvement as a dealer, said Medway Drug Enforcement Agency Director Donald Hall.

By bringing the charges together, Foster can be charged with a variety of combined offenses for which she faces stiffer penalties than if prosecuted at the county level, said Hall, who described Foster as a “mid-level player” who needed to be charged federally.

If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violations, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

The last charge on which Foster was arrested rose out of a Jan. 31 traffic stop in Holmes County, in which she was the passenger in a vehicle driven by Robert Searls.

The vehicle was stopped based on a tip Searls was not only unlicensed, but was in possession of drugs, with the intent to sell, said Holmes County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Mullet.

The vehicle was stopped in the parking lot of West Holmes High School, where officers found Searls and Foster, as well as Andrew Tennent, who was in the back of the car. Searls initially provided officers with an incorrect name and Social Security number.

Tennent later reported to investigators that Foster was measuring out crystal meth, but dumped it and smashed it into the floor of the car when she saw the officers approaching, said Mullet.

All three were arrested and Tennent was found to have crystal meth in his socks when he was booked into the jail.

After the three were removed and transported to the jail, officers searched the vehicle. A total of 2.1 grams of meth was recovered from the car on that date, according to Chief Deputy Richard Haun of the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office.

During the search process, one officer, although protected with gloves, was exposed to meth, which is believed to have become airborne and inhaled. His exposure was suspected after he began showing symptoms, including acting fidgety, excessively talkative and having hot flashes, said Mullet. He was taken by emergency squad to Pomerene Hospital, where he was observed before eventually being released.

In July, Searls, 25, of 675 Bobwhite Lane, Millersburg, pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to aggravated possession of drugs and obstructing official business. In exchange for his guilty pleas, a related charge of aggravated trafficking in drugs. He also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of failure to appear.

He faces a total of 4 1/2 years in prison and fines exceeding $15,000 when he is sentenced on Sept. 21.

Tennent, 39, of 2106 State Route 39, Jeromesville, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to complete the SRCCC treatment program after admitting to illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility.

Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or cpratt@the-daily-record.com.