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Police: Charleroi woman hid drugs in body

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Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 12:31 a.m.

A Charleroi woman facing drug charges allegedly hid suspected heroin, a crack pipe and drug-related paraphernalia inside her body cavities.

Shannell Dessell, 27, of 541-C Fallowfield Ave., was charged by Charleroi Regional Police with two counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, five counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and three counts each of possession of a controlled substance, tampering with/fabricating physical evidence, flight to avoid apprehension and resisting arrest.

The charges were filed in Charleroi with Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins.

Police received a call 5:01 a.m. Sunday from resident Nancy Ellis, who said a tan or gray Ford Escort had struck parked vehicles along Lincoln Avenue.

Ellis, the borough's former mayor, called back and said the same car hit another vehicle. She told police the driver got out of the car wearing a blue sweater, a blue knit cap and jeans, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Officer John Mitaly stated in the report that he began to chase the woman after he saw her running down Sixth Street.

The woman was seen going into an apartment at 541 Fallowfield Ave. Officer Michael Leasure identified the woman as Dessell, who was wanted on a warrant, according to the affidavit.

After Dessell failed to let police into the residence, Leasure kicked in the door and placed her under arrest.

Police allegedly saw three hypodermic needles filled with suspected heroin on an end table, the report stated.

After Mon Valley Emergency Medical Services personnel evaluated Dessell for a possible asthma attack, the suspect was taken to the police station.

California borough police Officer Alyssa Haines was called in to search Dessell.

A crack pipe was allegedly discovered in Dessell's rectal area.

As medical personnel continued to evaluate Dessell, they reportedly saw her retrieve a small, plastic bag of suspected crack cocaine from her rectal area and drop it onto the floor, the complaint states.

Dessell was taken to Monongahela Valley Hospital in Carroll Township, where an emergency room doctor allegedly located a “pepto” bottle and a hypodermic needle inside her vaginal cavity, according to the affidavit.

The bottle allegedly contained 10 stamp bags of suspected heroin, 18 Alprazolam pills, five Carbamazepine pills, 5 12 trazodone hydrochloride pills and 40 Gabapentin capsules.

Alprazolam is commonly used to treat panic disorders. Carbamazepine is commonly used as a convulsion treatment. Trazodone Hydrochloride is commonly used as an antidepressant. Gabapentin is commonly used to treat seizures and neuropathic pain.

Dessell was arraigned Tuesday by Hopkins and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $5,000 bond.

She faces a preliminary hearing 9 a.m. Jan. 16 before Hopkins.

Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at

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