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Spokane woman sentenced for heroin
July 27, 2017
A 24-year-old Spokane woman who paid a visit to Bonners Ferry last year with a Montana man will be a guest of Idaho a bit longer than she anticipated after being charged with possession of heroin and paraphernalia. But if she plays her cards right, she won't have to stay quite as long as she could.

On March 5, 2016, security at the Kootenai River Inn called sheriff's dispatch to report suspicious activity, and Bonners Ferry Police Officer Willie Cowell took a ride to the Inn, where he watched video surveillance of Savannah E. Halsey and Stephen P. Wood, 42, Montana, in the cab of a 1998 GMC pickup in the lot bearing Montana plates.

The two had since returned to the Inn, but as Cowell watched the tapes of them in the truck doing what appeared to be smoking meth in a glass pipe, security watched on a live camera as they again left the building and returned to the truck. Before he could return to his patrol vehicle, the pair had left the Inn parking lot headed north.

Cowell caught up to them as they drove out of city limits heading up the North Hill, and took note as the vehicle swerved out of its proper lane and traveled well over the speed limit. As a sheriffs deputy traveled to assist, Cowell followed the GMC as it turned east on Highway 2, then pulled the rig over in the Three Mile parking lot.

Wood proved to be uncooperative, refusing to obey directions, grabbing suddenly for items in the truck and out of officer view, then refusing to put his hands where they could be seen; actions that understandably failed to impress the officers, who employed a taser to settle him down and take him into custody.

While the deputy handled the chore of arresting Wood, Cowell told Halsey what he'd just been watching her and Wood smoking meth on the KRI surveillance tape, which she didn't deny, and as he was patting her down for weapons, the back of his hand encountered a bulge in her front pants pocket.

"It's paraphernalia," she said without prompting, a heroin cooker she said belonged to Wood.

One thing law enforcement officers in such a situation hate more than anything is getting poked with a hidden needle, so he asked her if she perhaps had such about her person.

As she assured him she absolutely did not, one fell from the jacket she had on ... which she immediately said belonged to Wood.

In searching the cab of the truck, Cowell found a grocery bag holding women's clothing and a makeup bag, which held 11 additional syringes, each either filled with heroin and ready to use or containing residue that indicated they'd been used not long before.

While Woods was charged with possession of meth, a felony, and possession of less than three ounces of marijuana, Halsey was charged with felony possession of heroin and possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor later dismissed in a plea agreement for a guilty plea to the felony.

Judge Barbara Buchanan sentenced her last week to two years in prison, determinate, two years indeterminate, then retained jurisdiction to give Halsey the chance to successfully complete a one year program at Cottonwood, after which she could be granted probation instead of prison.
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