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Drug dealer gets prison time for selling Xanax to her 'best friend'

Cary Ashby • Sep 2, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Defense attorney Curtis Koch wanted the judge to consider "county jail time" of one year for his client's drug-dealing conviction and a probation violation from a 2008 felony case.

"It's something Roberta can live with," Koch said about Roberta D. Bisel.

The 36-year-old Norwalk woman pleaded guilty in early June to one count of trafficking in alprazolam. In exchange, the state dismissed two similar charges.

"I'd like to see her go to prison (and) get shocked into a CBCF," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said in Huron County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday morning. "I think she needs a prison term to wake her up."

A CBCF is a prison-like substance abuse treatment center, where defendants spend four to six months.

Judge Jim Conway gave Bisel the option of considering a "risk reduction" sentence, which would reduce her time in prison by 20 percent if she agreed to undergo and successfully completed an in-house substance abuse program.

Bisel didn't appear to be sold on the idea. She said she didn't want to go to prison, where there's more drug activity than in Norwalk.

"I sold some of Xanax to my best friend to support my family," she told the judge. "I could be doing a lot worse; I could be shooting up."

Earlier in the hearing, Leffler said it's obvious Bisel has a long-term drug problem.

The prosecutor also mentioned how the defendant only managed to pay $660 out of her $30,000 restitution from her previous case. Bisel pleaded guilty to theft from the elderly in mid-June 2008.

"I don't think that's a great performance on five years of probation," Leffler said.

Koch said his client has been off drugs for more than four years and isn't a "major player" in the local drug scene.

"We're not dealing with heroin here," said the defense attorney, who said a year in the Huron County Jail wouldn't demean the seriousness of Bisel's trafficking offense.

"I understand selling my Xanax was stupid. I made a poor choice," Bisel said.

Crying slightly, she said she "wasn't doing it to support my habit."

"I was doing it to support my family," added the mother of two.

Ultimately, the judge sentence Bisel to one year in prison and had her probation revoked in the 2008 case. She wasn't fined, but she must pay $105 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Investigation to cover the cost of drug testing.

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