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Carnahan found guilty of distributing drugs in jail

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A Columbia Falls woman accused of smuggling drugs into the Lake County jail has pled guilty to criminal distribution of dangerous drugs. 

Erin Elizabeth Carnahan, 24, entered her plea at District Court in Polson on Nov. 21 as part of a plea agreement that will dismiss two other charges at sentencing.

Court records allege that Carnahan was arrested as a passenger of a car subject to a traffic stop in Polson on Jan. 27. She was booked and released due to a lack of space in the Lake County jail. 

On Aug. 18, she was picked up for an outstanding warrant, stemming from the January incident. She was allegedly able to bring methamphetamine into the jail and share it with three inmates in her cell. One of the inmates who shared the meth had an adverse reaction to the drug. All were later brought by ambulance to St. Joseph Medical Center for either testing or treatment.

Lake County Chief Deputy Attorney James Lapotka said the plea agreement calls for sentencing to be deferred for three years and for Carnahan to pay $2,373 in restitution to Lake County for reimbursement of the three ambulance trips.

District Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set sentencing for Jan. 6.

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