2 Arrested on Drug Possession

Staff Writer

Two individuals were arrested on drug charges on Friday, according to a news release from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office.
At approximately 3 p.m. Friday, detectives with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office were following up on drug information when two suspects were located in Celina. The detectives called the Celina Police Department for assistance, and the suspects were followed to the city of St. marys, where the Auglaize County Sheriff's Office and the St. Marys Police Department assisted. All of the agencies involved are members of the Grand Lake Drug Task Force and were acting in their capacity as task force officers, Sheriff Jeff Grey noted in the release.
The suspects made their way back to Mercer County, where the detectives observed a traffic violation on Ohio 219. As they approached Coldwater, the Coldwater Police Department was called to assist in making a traffic stop. The Coldwater Police Department K-9 was requested at the scene. K-9 Mojo, handled by Sgt. Kyle Dues of the Coldwater Police Department, alerted to the presence of drugs in the car. The driver of the car was searched and found to be in possession of four capsules of suspected drugs.
Tommy D. Pruitt, 40, of 12444 W. First St., Dayton, is being held on charges of Possession of Drugs, with more charges expected to be filed once the prosecutor’s office has the report and an opportunity to review it. Also arrested was the driver of the car, Alecksa Deanyell Howell, 23, of 518 N. Buckeye St., Celina, on possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. Howell was also cited for driving under suspension by the Coldwater Police Department.
 During the investigation, officers learned a passenger inside the car — Pruitt — was also in possession of heroin and had used a lubricant before the stop to conceal drugs in his rectum, and the lubricant container was located in the vehicle.  Both the female driver and the male passenger were arrested for possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony.
They were then transported to the Mercer County Jail by sheriff’s deputies and by Coldwater police officers. Upon arrival at the jail, Pruitt was interviewed in the garage bay of the jail. Deputies explained to him if he was concealing drugs inside his body, he would have additional charges for conveying drugs into a detention facility; he continued to deny that he had any drugs. He was booked into the jail but separated from other inmates and a sheriff’s office employee stayed with him so he could not remove any drugs without being detected while detectives applied for and received a “Body Cavity” Search Warrant. The affidavit for the search warrant was prepared by Mercer County Prosecutor Matt Fox, and the affidavit was reviewed by Celina Municipal Court Judge James Scheer and a search warrant was issued by him. 
Once the search warrant was received, deputies removed Pruitt from the jail and transported him to Mercer Health in Coldwater, where a doctor conducted the search. Three bags of drugs were found inside his anal cavity. The drugs found are suspected to be heroin and methamphetamines, with an approximate weight of 17.5 grams.The approximate street value is $1,750.
“This is why it is critical that the sheriff’s office puts a body scanner in the jail,” Grey said in the release. “Had we not developed the information about the drugs in his rectum, 17.5 grams of drugs would have entered the jail and possibly been shared with other inmates; the only way to stop it, is a body scanner.”
Pruitt was then released from the hospital and was returned to the jail. Celina Municipal Court Judge James Scheer set a $100,000 bond.  
“Any time we can get another drug dealer or drug user off of the streets, our community is a little safer,” Grey said. “This case also shows the success of the all the agencies in both counties working together as the Grand Lake Drug Task Force.”