Woman on intense probation for stealing drugs from friend

Cary Ashby • Mar 7, 2013 at 10:56 PM

A woman with an extensive misdemeanor record will be on three years of intense probation for stealing drugs from a friend.

Minniebelle A. Yates, 31, of 79 N. Railroad St., New London, will have to undergo weekly random drug screens for as long as her probation officer determines it's necessary.

At Wednesday's sentencing hearing, Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway stressed to Yates she faces "some form of in-house incarceration" if she tests positive for drugs.

Yates, in mid-January, pleaded guilty to theft of drugs for a June 19 incident. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to dismiss a separate charge of safecracking.

"This is the defendant's first felony conviction," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said. "She has a substance abuse problem."

Woodruff had recommended Yates spend four to six months in a community-based corrections facility, a form of prison which focuses on substance abuse treatment and education.

In reviewing Yates' criminal history, which includes some probation violations, Conway said the "most troubling" thing for him in deciding her sentence is how lengthy her record is, given that Yates is 31.

"Your adult history for age is lengthy," Conway told Yates, the mother of two daughters, 11 and 12.

In February 2012, Yates was arrested on Norwalk Municipal Court contempt of court warrants at a rural Wakeman residence and later served 19 days in the Huron County Jail. The resident was charged in connection with reportedly denying Yates was there.

The contempt warrants were from the original convictions of theft and driving under the influence (DUI). Yates' DUI conviction was for a Dec. 30, 2008 traffic stop by the New London Police Department.

In April 2008, Yates was placed on two years of intense probation for the theft. About a year later, she was ordered to spend 40 days in jail after Judge John Ridge found she violated her community control sanctions by testing positive for marijuana twice in 10 days. Yates also had her probation extended for another year.

"I'm trying to get my life back together," Yates told the court Wednesday.

About three months ago, she started working 20 to 30 hours a week at a New London farm. Yates also has been baby-sitting.

If she violates the terms of her probation, which includes a $250 fine, Yates faces 18 months in prison.

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