Police: Charleroi woman hid drugs in body cavities

January 9, 2014
Shannell Dessell

CHARLEROI – A Charleroi woman is facing charges she hid drugs, including heroin and crack, in her body cavities when local police went to her apartment early Sunday to investigate a hit-and-run vehicle crash.

Charleroi Regional police placed Shannell Dessell, 27, in Washington County jail that day on a parole violation and they arrested her Tuesday on a string of drug and related charges, court records show.

Police were summoned to the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue about 5 a.m. by former Charleroi mayor Nancy Ellis, who said she witnessed a car being driven erratically there. Police received a second call reporting the same car had crashed into a parked vehicle at 307 Sixth St.

Police said they saw Dessell running down Sixth Street to her residence at 541 Fallowfield Ave. when they arrived on scene.

An officer then kicked in the door to her apartment after she refused commands to come out. Police immediately noticed three syringes that appeared to be loaded with heroin sitting on a table inside the residence, the affidavit indicates.

A female police officer was asked to search Dessell after she was seen acting suspiciously at the police station, and allegedly threw a clear plastic bag containing crack on the floor.

An emergency medical services crew took her to Monongahela Valley Hospital for a broader search of her body after allegedly finding a crack pipe in her buttocks area.

The hospital staff later recovered from a body cavity a hypodermic needle and medicine bottle containing 10 stamp bags of heroin and more than 60 doses of various prescription drugs, the affidavit states.

Dessell is being held for failure to comply with the terms of her probation in a 2011 guilty plea to possession of drug paraphernalia filed by police in Charleroi.

District Judge Larry Hopkins set her bond at $5,000 after arraigning her Tuesday on charges of resisting arrest, possession of drugs with intent to deliver, drug possession, tampering with evidence, flight to avoid apprehension and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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