Woman faces up to 15 years for drug possession
Stephanie M. Algoe is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance (heroin and cocaine) and one count of driving with a suspended, revoked, or denied license.
She is being held in Lapeer County Jail without bond, charged as a four-time habitual offender and facing up to 15 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty.
Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. Undersheriff Jeremy Howe said Algoe was pulled over by police in May after a witness reported seeing her with another individual backed into weeds in the Lapeer State Game Area near Five Lakes and Vernor roads in Arcadia Township. Algoe reportedly told the witness (who called police) that she and her companion were running from police.
Sheriff Scott McKenna said deputies found Algoe in possession of nine bindles of heroin. Bindles refers to the small packets in which heroin typically is sold.
McKenna said tests performed by Michigan State Police confirmed the bindles to contain carfentanil.
Carefentanil, a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals.
The drug is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, according to the National Institutes for Health.
It’s the first time the drug has been found in Lapeer County, though it’s been reported in areas close by, including in Sanilac County where four people reportedly overdosed and died as a result of ingesting the drug earlier this year.
Mixed with heroin, and sometimes sold in pill form, carfentanil puts Michigan residents at great risk of accidental overdose and death due to the extreme potency of the drug, according to the Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).
An amount equal to a few granules the size of grains of table salt can be lethal.
Adverse health effects such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest. Death can occur within minutes of exposure.
The drug is believed to be behind dozens of deaths within the last year in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
During last Thursday’s county board meeting, McKenna said it’s important to spread word that carfentanil has made its way into the community
“We want (the public) knowing what’s in our town,” McKenna said. “We want them knowing what’s happening around here.”
A pretrial hearing had not been scheduled as of press time.