Police say woman attempted to smuggle drugs into jail

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Stoney Creek woman who turned herself in to serve time at the jail to serve a sentence on a DUI conviction now faces new charges after officers say she arrived intoxicated and attempted to smuggle prescription medication into the facility.

Deputies of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office arrested Karen Lynn Pierce, 40, 279 Rome Hollow Road, Elizabethton, on Jan. 26 and charged her with the introduction of contraband into a penal facility and public intoxication.

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Pierce entered a guilty plea to a charge of first offense driving under the influence on Jan. 12 and was sentenced to serve four days in jail and 11 months and 29 days probation. Judge Stacy Street ordered Pierce to report to the Carter County Detention Center on Jan. 26 to begin serving her sentence.

Shortly before 7 p.m. on Jan. 26, CCSO Sgt. Samantha Beckett said she was called to the lobby at the jail after a Sheriff’s Office employee reported there was a female who had fallen asleep several times in the lobby and then went into the men’s restroom.

Beckett said she went into the men’s restroom and found a female, whom she identified as Pierce, inside one of the stalls with the door open.

“When I went over to the stall, she came out holding a phone in her right hand, and when I asked why she was in the men’s restroom, she said ‘there were too many doors,’” Beckett said. “Mrs. Pierce could not keep focus, continued to be unsteady on her feet with slurred speech and her pupils were the size of a needle tip.”

Beckett said before taking Pierce into the booking area she asked the woman several times what medication or substance she was on and if she had anything she was attempting to take inside the jail.

“She said ‘I don’t do drugs and you are mean for asking,’” Beckett said, adding she had to hold onto Pierce by her shirt and help her walk because the woman was having difficulty remaining upright. “Mrs. Pierce kept seeing things that were not there and trying to peel paint off the wall saying ‘she was taking her watch off,’” Beckett said.

Once inside the jail, Beckett said she began to search Pierce’s person and noticed that the woman was continuing to hold her left elbow against her left breast. At that time, Beckett said she asked Pierce to turn over whatever it was she was trying to protect, and Pierce handed her a clear baggie which contained four white pills that were identified as Seroquel, a prescription antipsychotic medication.

At that time, Beckett charged Pierce with public intoxication and the introduction of contraband into a penal facility.

Pierce appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court on Tuesday morning to be arraigned on the new charges. Under a plea agreement with the state, Pierce entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of simple possession of Schedule IV drugs and was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days probation, which will run consecutive to the probation sentence for the DUI conviction she pled guilty to on Jan. 12. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. ordered her to pay a $750 fine and court costs. As part of the plea agreement, the state dismissed the charge of public intoxication against Pierce.