Woman involved in largest drug raid in Wintersville history gets at least 10 years

STEUBENVILLE — A woman who was the subject of the largest drug bust in Wintersville history was sentenced to at least 10 years in prison on Thursday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Michelle Miller.

Alicia L. Griffin, 47, of Chicago was pulled over by a village officer on Main Street around 9 p.m. on July 14, said Police Chief Arthur Fowler.

Fowler said the driver of the vehicle, Griffin, was found to be in possession of a half a kilogram of cocaine, a large amount of heroin, crystal methamphetamine, MDMA or “molly” and more than one pound of marijuana.

Two handguns were found in the vehicle, one of which was reported stolen out of Steubenville in September 2018, Fowler said. A large amount of cash also was confiscated.

Griffin was indicted on charges of possession of heroin and cocaine, both having specifications of Griffin being a major drug offender; possession of methamphetamine; possession of MDMA, felony possession of marijuana; having a weapon under disability; improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle; and receiving stolen property.

The major drug offender specification was dismissed by the prosecutor’s office as part of the plea agreement. That specification could have added eight more years to her sentencing.

Miller sentenced Griffin to 10 to 15 years in prison, with 10 years being mandatory time. Griffin will be on a mandatory five years of parole after her release from prison.

Court records state Griffin had served 23 years in prison in Florida on an attempted murder charge.

The handgun reported stolen out of Steubenville was turned over to City Police to be returned to the owner.

The other gun, Griffin’s vehicle and $1,155 in cash seized during the arrest were forfeited to the Wintersville Police Department.

Belinda L. Vandruff, 56, of 116 Third Ave., Stratton, pleaded guilty before Miller on Thursday to felony theft.

Vandruff was charged with stealing and cashing checks in the amount of $12,000 from an elderly couple off state Route 213, Toronto.

As part of the plea agreement, Vandruff agreed to make restitution to the elderly couple on the day of sentencing, set for 9 a.m. on Jan. 7. She also agreed never to work in home health again.


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