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Chase Mills woman admits smuggling drugs to jailed son was bad plan


CANTON - A Chase Mills woman said she attempted to smuggle drugs into the St. Lawrence County jail in February in an effort to get her son to stop bugging her.

“I showed bad judgment,” said Angela M. Swinyer, 42, of 839 Ruddy Road, before she was sentenced for a felony fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance charge. “I wasn’t thinking about my younger children. I was thinking about my oldest child. I wanted him to shut up and leave me alone. I had heard from him daily, two to three times a day, for a month.”

County Sheriff’s Department deputies had charged Ms. Swinyer with first-degree promotion of prison contraband and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in February after she allegedly brought a narcotic drug into the jail and attempted to give it to an inmate during a visit.

Deputies had also charged her son, Russell F. Dendler, 23, an inmate at the time, with fifth-degree conspiracy and a felony count of first-degree attempted promotion of prison contraband.

County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards placed Ms. Swinyer on probation for five years and ordered her to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges. The court found there were compelling circumstances not to suspend her operating privileges.

County Conflict Public Defender Amy L. Dona had urged the court not to suspend her operating privileges. She said Ms. Swinyer was the only licensed driver in her home and needed her license so she could take her son to his medical appointments.

Prior to sentencing, Judge Richards noted she had tested positive for suboxone use prior to her last court appearance. Citing a uniform court report submitted by the probation department, Judge Richards said Ms. Swinyer had denied drug use and had said she didn’t even know what suboxone was.

“The probation officer informed her it was the drug she tried to smuggle to her son in jail,” he read.

Suboxone is often used as a long-term replacement therapy prescription for opiate addicts. Assistant District Attorney Jonathan L. Becker had urged the court to sentence Ms. Swinyer to six months in the county jail and five years’ probation and to suspend her license.

Ms. Dona acknowledged Swinyer had submitted two urine tests that were positive for suboxone, but she reiterated her client’s claim of innocence and noted the Chase Mills woman was on medications prescribed by a medical provider that could have been responsible for the positive drug test.

“I do not do drugs,” Ms. Swinyer added. “I’ve never done drugs in 17 years.”

Ms. Dona had urged the county court judge not to sentence her client to jail time. She pointed out Swinyer had no problems during her release under probation supervision and had complied with recommended counseling programs.

“Her husband is unemployed and doesn’t have a license. If she is incarcerated, her family will lose her SSI income,” Ms. Dona said.

Ms. Swinyer expanded on that argument.

“My family will probably have to move from their home and probably lose their dog. I just wasn’t thinking about my younger children,” she said.

Ms. Dona had also urged the county court judge not to sentence her client to jail time.

In other recent county court action before Judge Richards:

■ Cory C. Ghostlaw, 34, 1275 Route 95, Bombay, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal possession of marijuana. The court has committed to place Mr. Ghostlaw on interim probation when he returns for sentencing on Dec. 10. He was represented by Public Defender Steven Button.

Mr. Ghostlaw admitted he had possessed 3.08 pounds of marijuana on Sept. 26, 2011, in the town of Dekalb.

Also indicted were Henry T. Trzesara II, 34, 1271 Route 95, Bombay, and Carrie F. Lazore, 25, Akwesasne, Quebec for second-degree criminal possession of marijuana in connection with the incident.

Mr. Ghostlaw told the court he was towing a camper that did not belong to him, but he said he been informed there was more than one pound of marijuana in the trailer.

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