- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Hughesville woman who was serving weekends in St. Mary’s jail last summer on a traffic charge has been sentenced to serve 18 months in the facility on her guilty plea last week to possessing pills with the intent to deliver them to another inmate.
Amber Elizabeth Clark, now 26, was charged in the investigation last June by St. Mary’s narcotics detectives, a probe that State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) said at Clark’s plea hearing was assisted by monitoring phone calls at the facility.
“She decided that she would surreptitiously bring some pills in ... for the other inmates,” Fritz said. Initial charging papers stated that police suspected the pills seized from Clark were doses of oxycodone and alprazolam, but the prosecutor said in court that the true content of the pills was irrelevant to the contraband offense.
Clark pleaded guilty last year to driving with a suspended license in Mechanicsville, and she was sentenced in June to serve 10 days in jail.
Sean Moran, Clark’s public defender, said during last week’s court hearing that his client was serving the weekends for the traffic offense when two other inmates, Anita K. Emery and Nicole A. Kelly, convinced her to commit the drug offense.
“Nobody forced her to do that,” Moran said, “but it led her to make a bad decision. They promised to have somebody pay her [weekend-jail] fees for her if she would do this favor for them.”
Clark, the mother of two young children, said in court that in addition to putting herself in jeopardy, “I put my children at risk.”
St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm told Clark that her conduct also put the jail’s correctional officers and other inmates at risk.
“You allowed other people to influence you into smuggling into the jail,” Stamm said. “I do believe you were taken advantage of.”
The judge sentenced Clark to three years in prison, suspended to the 18-month sentence with credit for 55 days served in pretrial custody and three years of supervised probation.
Emery, 25, of California was sentenced last January to serve 30 days in jail, with work-release privileges and credit for nine days served in pretrial custody, on her guilty plea to conspiring to possess oxycodone from the police investigation last June. Initial district court charging papers alleged that Emery, in custody at that time for a theft offense, was the intended recipient of the pills, and that another inmate already had made a payment to receive some of the pills from Emery.
A judge ordered earlier this month that Emery remain in jail in lieu of $3,500 bond on charging papers alleging she illegally possessed the drug zolpidem tartrate, a prescription sleeping medication, while incarcerated at the facility. She is scheduled to face trial next month in that case.
Kelly, 27, of Prince Frederick, who was serving 60 days in jail last June from a guilty plea to obtaining drugs by fraud, faces trial this summer on a charge of conspiracy to possess contraband in a place of confinement, filed from last year’s investigation.