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Charleroi woman ordered to stand trial in drug case

| Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Shannell Dessell

A Charleroi woman accused of hiding a bottle of drugs inside her body cavity will stand trial after waiving her right to a preliminary hearing.

Shannell Dessell, of 541-C Fallowfield Ave., appeared before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in Charleroi on Thursday.

Dessell, 27, was charged Jan. 6 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.

Two counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance were withdrawn. All of the other charges were waived.

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

Ellis called back and said the same car had 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 a 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 during Haines' search.

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 and 68 12 pills including Alprazolam, Carbamazepine, trazodone hydrochloride and Gabapentin capsules.

Dessell is currently lodged in the Washington County Correctional Facility on a probation detainer as well as $5,000 straight cash bond set by Hopkins during her arraignment last week.

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or 724-684-2667.