In the end, a Wooster woman who admitted to being addicted to heroin was spared prison time for her role in bringing fentanyl into the community -- and into her home in front of her small children -- because of those children.
Juliette Lavy, 39, of 713 Gasche St., was sentenced to three years on community control in Wayne County Common Pleas Court for charges of aggravated possession of drugs (a third-degree felony, the most serious charge), permitting drug abuse, endangering children and possessing drug abuse instruments.
She was ordered by Judge Mark K. Wiest to complete treatment at the Stark Regional Community Corrections Center. Lavy is in jail and must remain there until a bed is available at SRCCC.
She faces three years in prison if she violates any of the terms of her probation.
Lavy was indicted shortly after she was arrested Jan. 13 with Robert W. Craddock, 49, and Mario Howard (aka Eric Mills), 28, Detroit, at her home on Gasche Street.
Craddock and Howard were both sentenced to four years in prison May 27.
All three pleaded guilty to various drug charges.
Lavy apologized to the court for her actions and said being in jail has let her get and stay clean again.
"I will take what is handed to me," she said as she pleaded for probation and treatment, instead of prison.
Lavy's attorney, Clarke Owens, told the court she started using drugs for pain management and then became addicted to heroin. He added she has broken the relationship with Craddock and she is "remorseful."
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodie Schumacher said, "Lavy is more than an addict" and instead was "part in parcel" to the operation with Craddock and Mills.
"(Lavy) permitted this in the community ... but in front of her children," Schumacher said. She previously stated the child at the home when the warrant was executed was found sleeping amidst a "sea of needles" some of which were uncapped.
Wiest told Lavy he needed to balance her admitted role in bringing fentanyl into the community with the fact she does have two small children to raise. The two (one of which was a mutual child between Craddock and Lavy) were seized by Wayne County Children Services. One of the children was at the home at the time when the search warrant was executed.
All three were arrested when the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant at the Gasche Street home, where Lavy and Craddock lived.
Don Hall, director of Medway, said after their arrest, investigators discovered 32 grams of powdered fentanyl, a substance with a medical use as a sedative before various procedures or administered in a patch for chronic pain.
The street value of what was seized is roughly $7,680.
The fentanyl, according to court documents, was located in the bedroom of Lavy and Craddock, where their child was found sleeping along with about 100 uncapped syringes.
Wiest ordered Lavy to comply with Children Services in order to get her children back.
Fentanyl is estimated to be up to 100 times more powerful than heroin and morphine. Fentanyl has been linked to countless overdose deaths across northeast Ohio as it is being marketed as strictly heroin or mixed with the drug.
Hall said typically in Wayne County, authorities do not see fentanyl in a powdered form, as was discovered during the execution of the warrant on Gasche Street. He described this fentanyl as something "manufactured in a clandestine lab."
Court documents note Howard, who was arrested as Eric Mills, arranged to stay at Lavy and Craddock's home to sell drugs and have them sell drugs for him. They were compensated for their efforts in heroin or fentanyl. Howard also allegedly told law enforcement he was sent from Detroit,and to stay with Craddock and Lavy, to sell drugs because of a debt he owed.
By STEVEN F. HUSZAI @the-daily-record.com