Suspects in two unrelated heroin cases were arraigned this week in Huron County Common Pleas Court.
Sheri L. Rister, 28, of 118 Spring St., Willard, faces a June 12 trial on possession of heroin. Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said Rister, known locally as "Big Sheri," is accused of bringing 70 balloons of heroin from Columbus on a nearly daily basis and was caught with several of the doses.
"We've been collecting information on her for quite some time," Huron County Sheriff's Sgt. Annette McLaughlin said.
The Rister investigation started in late January or early February. McLaughlin said deputies obtained information from reliable confidential informants that Rister was making the heroin-related trips "at least a couple times weekly."
Rister must post 10 percent of $5,000 before being released from the Huron County Jail. If she posts bond, she must report to the probation department monthly for drug screens.
In a separate drug case, Bradley C. Jones, 34, of 101 First St., Willard, pleaded innocent Tuesday to three counts of trafficking in heroin in connection with incidents on March 5, 7 and 11. He also entered a similar plea to possession of heroin stemming from a March 11 incident.
Investigators affiliated with METRICH, a 10-county drug task force, found 18 balloons of heroin, $1,276 in cash in a safe and other heroin-related paraphernalia at Jones' home when they used a search warrant March 12.
Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said additional charges are pending based on an allegation he "ingested some heroin" when he was arrested and distributed some balloons to other jail inmates.
Jones is being held at the jail on a $10,000 bond. His trial on the current charges is June 10.
In another arraignment Tuesday, Joseph P. Shepherd, 18, of 23B Spring St., pleaded innocent to two counts of rape. He faces 25 years to life in prison on one of the first-degree felonies and is scheduled to go trial May 20.
Shepherd is accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy Feb. 3 on Franklin Street.
"The defendant here has no ties to Huron County. He was initially placed here as a foster child," Woodruff said. "He was just floating around the county."
The victim's foster father reported the incident Feb. 23, two days before the Norwalk Law Director's office filed one initial rape charge. Earlier, Norwalk Police Chief Kevin Cashen said Shepherd knew the victim because "he used to be a foster child" at the address where the suspected offense happened.
The suspect must post a $50,000 bond before being released from custody.