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Woman charged with smuggling 75 grams of cocaine into Juneau

28-year-old allegedly stashed drugs in a body cavity 'at some risk to herself'

Posted: Friday, November 20, 2009

A 28-year-old woman on felony probation was caught allegedly smuggling more than 2 ½ ounces of cocaine inside her most private of places into Juneau last month.

A grand jury indicted Jolene L. Smith last week on a felony drug charge for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, which carries a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison. She is lodged in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

The State of Alaska is also considering revoking Smith's probation, which could result in up to 16 months in prison due to a suspended sentence from a previous drug conviction.

Smith was taken into custody Oct. 23 at Juneau International Airport for a probation violation and was found with 75 grams of cocaine in her vagina "at some risk to herself," District Attorney Doug Gardner said during a bail hearing Thursday. It was Gardner's understanding that hospital personnel had some difficulty removing the cocaine, he added.

Probation officer Marylee Cassell-Quinto testified that the state acted on a tip that Smith had violated her probation by leaving Alaska without permission. It was unclear whether the tip included information about the cocaine or from where Smith flew into Juneau.

The street value for the drugs seized from Smith is between about $125 and $150 a gram, or roughly $9,375 to $11,250 total, according to the Juneau Police Department spokesman Sgt. Dave Campbell.

Smith's attorney, public defender Eric Hedland, argued Thursday to have her $10,000 bail halved and that the court assign her mother as a third-party custodian so Smith could stay with her three children at her mother's home in Hoonah.

Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg ruled against Smith's request to have her bail lowered and rejected the third-party custodian request.

Smith was allegedly caught with a "significant amount of cocaine while on felony probation," Pallenberg said. "That's a pretty bad combination of facts."

Smith sobbed into her hands at the defendants' table after having her bail request denied.

Cassell-Quinto told the court that she felt Smith's mother was an inappropriate third-party custodian because the residence in Hoonah is known by village law enforcement to be a "party pad." Hoonah is also the location where Smith's original drug conviction stemmed from, and the state does not have probation officers in the village to supervise her, Cassell-Quinto added.

Hedland argued that Smith has been on probation for more than a year with no violations. Cassell-Quinto acknowledged in court that Smith did not test positive for drugs or alcohol when she was apprehended last month.

Smith was on felony probation resulting from a 2008 drug conviction for distributing marijuana in Hoonah. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison with 16 suspended and two years of probation.

• Contact reporter Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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