A Jackson County woman pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges in court earlier this month.
Megan Emily Tate, 27, of Sylva was sentenced in Jackson County Superior Court on July 8 to between 140 and 186 months in prison for two counts of trafficking fentanyl.
Judge Brad Letts also ordered Tate to pay a state-mandated fine of $100,000, $50,000 for each of two felony pleas, trafficking in opium or heroin by transportation and trafficking in opium or heroin by possession.
Tate was arrested Jan. 10 during a traffic stop for a missing license tag light conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. She was a passenger in a vehicle traveling on U.S. 441.
“Deputies discovered more than 4 grams of oxycodone pills, an opium derivative; pocket scales and other drug paraphernalia, burnt aluminum foil underneath the passenger seat and other evidence of illegal drugs,” District Attorney Ashley Welch said in a press release. “Tate had more than $10,000 in cash in her purse.”
Tate faced more chargers when, on Feb. 5, the fire department responded to a call of two unconscious people in a parked car in a Sylva parking lot. Police later found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car including, “more than 4 grams of fentanyl, heroin and ANPP, designated a Schedule II immediate precursor to fentanyl,” Welch said.
Tate is also charged in the April overdoses of two inmates in the Jackson County Detention Center.
Tate was already an inmate at the detention center following an April 1 arrest on separate charges.
On April 1, detention center staff found an inmate in medical distress and dispensed NARCAN. The victim was taken to Harris Regional Hospital and treated. It was later determined the inmate consumed opiates while jailed.
On April 8, another inmate was found in medical distress and exhibiting signs of a drug overdose. The person was given NARCAN and transported to Harris for treatment.
Jail staff and supervisors conducted an investigation into how the detainees were able to obtain drugs while behind bars, and charges were filed against Tate.
“Probable cause was found that Tate concealed an opiate based substance in one of her body cavities when she was admitted to the detention center on April 1 following her arrest,” said Major Shannon Queen of the Sheriff’s Office. “As a result, Tate was charged with additional offenses related to these incidents.”
Tate was charged with felony trafficking opium/heroin, felony possession of a controlled substance on jail premises and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia for her alleged part in the overdoses.
The opiate used in the jail overdoses was also fentanyl.
The status of Tate’s charges related to the overdoses is unknown at this time.