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Woman facing new charge in drug smuggling case
Michelle Vennochi, 42, had her plea hearing delayed in superior court because prosecutors expect to bring a new charge against her. Vennochi is expected to plead guilty to charges that she smuggled drugs into the county jail for her husband earlier this year, according to court records. (COURTESY)
Danville woman to plead guilty to smuggling drugs to husband in jail
Woman accused of sneaking drugs into jail for husband
BRENTWOOD — A Danville woman who was expected to plead guilty to charges she smuggled drugs into the Rockingham County jail will face new charges, according to her lawyer.
A judge delayed a plea-and-sentencing hearing for Michelle Vennochi, 42, after her lawyer told a judge that she will be indicted on a new charge within the next month.
Defense lawyer Adam Bernstein said in court papers he hopes to work out a plea agreement that will resolve her pending and new case.
Judge N. William Delker granted Bernstein's request to put off his client's plea hearing so he can work out a new agreement with prosecutors.
Vennochi, 42, is accused of smuggling drugs and tobacco to her husband while he was being held at Rockingham County jail, according to indictments.
She was indicted on charges of delivery of articles prohibited for allegedly smuggling suboxone to her husband during jail visits between Jan. 3 and 7. She also allegedly brought him tobacco on Dec. 3, according to indictments.
The three charges are punishable by up to 3½ to 7 years in state prison and a $4,000 fine.
Corrections officers learned about Vennochi's plans after listening to recorded phone calls between her and her husband, Michael Dymek, according to an affidavit.
The couple discussed how to prepare toothpicks so that they could be laced with suboxone, the sheriff's department said.
Vennochi would slide toothpicks laced with suboxone strips through an opening in the divider between visitors and inmates, sheriff's department deputy Sgt. Jay Murphy said in an affidavit.
Corrections officers and deputies recorded one of the drug transactions on Jan. 7 then took Vennochi into custody as she was leaving the county jail. Dymek was found with toothpicks in his pocket, according to court records.
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