Woman pleads guilty in heroin case

Cecil Whig - - OBITUARIES & LOCAL - ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com By CARL HAMIL­TON

ELK­TON — A woman is fac­ing up to four years in prison af­ter ac­cept­ing a plea deal in a case in which in­ves­ti­ga­tors con­fis­cated heroin, pre­scrip­tion pills and sev­eral pieces of stolen prop­erty, af­ter find­ing her and a man passed out inside their run­ning, in-gear car at an Elk­ton in­ter­sec­tion.

The de­fen­dant, Kather­ine El­iz­a­beth Co­tul­las, 25, of Mag­no­lia, Del., pleaded guilty to pos­ses­sion of heroin dur­ing the brief Ce­cil County Cir­cuit Court hear­ing. Prose­cu­tors, in ex­change, dropped four re­lated charges against Co­tul­las, in­clud­ing pos­ses­sion of a firearm in a drug traf­fick­ing crime and pos­ses­sion of heroin with in­tent to dis­trib­ute.

A sen­tenc­ing date had not been sched­uled, as of Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Her co-de­fen­dant, Joshua Amos Kist, 32, of Bear, Del., is sched­uled to stand trial in July. Last month, Kist’s first trial ended with the judge declar­ing a mis­trial be­cause ju­rors had seen a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer es­cort­ing Kist to the court­room.

Mary­land State Po­lice Tfc. John Wild­man ar­rested Co­tul­las and Kist shortly af­ter find­ing them in­ca­pac­i­tated inside their sil­ver car at De­lancey Road and East Pu­laski High­way about 5:15 a.m. Oct. 5, ac­cord­ing to court records.

The traf­fic light was green, but the car did not move for­ward into the in­ter­sec­tion, prose­cu­tors said. Wild­man found Kist slumped over the wheel — his foot on the brake and the run­ning car in drive — and Co­tul­las slumped over in the front pas­sen­ger’s seat, prose­cu­tors added.

Wild­man en­gaged the park­ing brake and re­moved the keys from the ig­ni­tion, ac­cord­ing to court records. Kist failed a field so­bri­ety test sev­eral mo­ments later, court records show. Be­cause the trooper no­ticed a sy­ringe on the cen­ter con­sole and pill bot­tles scat­tered through­out the ve­hi­cle and be­cause the cou­ple was slow in stir­ring, he dis­patched a K9 Unit and the spe­cially trained dog alerted to the pres­ence of il­le­gal drugs while scan­ning the car, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Searchers con­fis­cated drug para­pher­na­lia and nar­cotics, in­clud­ing about five grams of heroin, a quar­ter-ounce of mar­i­juana, a “crack” co­caine pipe, a dig­i­tal scale and 230 pre­scrip­tion pain and an­tide­pres­sant pills in eight bot­tles, po­lice re­ported.

They seized an un­loaded 12-gauge shot­gun and, next to the weapon, a Delaware man’s driver’s li­cense, wal­let and credit card, po­lice said. Be­cause of past con­vic­tions, Kist and Co­tul­las are pro­hib­ited from pos­sess­ing firearms, po­lice added.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors later con­tacted the gun owner, who re­ported that some­one had bro­ken into his pickup truck a night ear­lier and stole ap­prox­i­mately $1,685 in prop­erty, in­clud­ing the shot­gun, hunt­ing gear and hand tools, po­lice re­ported.

Searchers found all of that listed stolen prop­erty inside the sus­pects’ ve­hi­cle, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

CO­TUL­LAS

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