Traffic stop yields drug paraphernalia arrests

SALEM – A traffic stop in Salem Thursday yielded numerous syringes, spoons and other drug paraphernalia items, including what appeared to be stamps of heroin, police said, leading to the arrests of the driver and passenger.

Audrey Wylie, 30, of 895 Arch St., Salem, the driver, and Michelle Bennett, 23, of 724 Sunset Drive, Lisbon, the passenger, were each charged with possession of drug abuse instruments, which is a misdemeanor.

Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said it’s possible there will be additional charges after laboratory analysis of items seized, including the items he said appeared to be stamps of heroin.

Besides the spoons, syringes and pipes, Panezott said the paraphernalia items included “material for what in our experience is used to package heroin.”

Ptl. David Banar initiated a traffic stop at 12:39 p.m. Thursday in the 300 block of South Lincoln Avenue for a traffic violation. He received a consent to search and found the drug paraphernalia items. The driver was given a warning for the traffic violation.

After processing, Wylie and Bennett were taken to the Columbiana County jail.

“I think it was really good police work on Ptl. Banar’s part, another example of aggressive traffic enforcement leading to a drug arrest,” Panezott said.

According to the chief, the vehicle belonged to someone else who was not present.

A felony theft case is currently pending in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court against Wylie for allegedly leaving the Salem Walmart without paying for $1,382 worth of merchandise on March 22 this year.

Wylie’s record also includes an indictment for aggravated vehicular homicide in 2005, stemming from a Dec. 5, 2004 two-vehicle accident on Depot Road which ended the life of Scott Ewing, who was a passenger in a friend’s car struck by the vehicle Wylie was driving. Blood evidence which allegedly showed the presence of cocaine in Wylie’s blood was suppressed, according to Columbiana County Common Pleas Court records.

She eventually pleaded no contest and was found guilty of an amended charge of vehicular homicide in 2006, for which she was sentenced to 90 days in jail and lost her driver’s license for three years.