Police: Cocaine-using Mom Charged With Endangerment

February 22, 2018

WILKES-BARRE TWP. — An East Stroudsburg woman is facing child endangerment charges after police say they found her using cocaine in a hotel room alongside her 3-year-old daughter.

Jessica Denise Butts, 41, was high while alone with the child at a Motel 6 on Tuesday night and had her drugs stored in “unmarked containers that were not secured in any way and easily accessible by a child of 3,” police said.

According to a police affidavit, officers responded to the hotel at 884 Schechter Drive shortly after 7 p.m. after hotel maintenance reported Butts was using drugs while supervising the child.

Butts came to the door “twitching and scratching” at open sores on her neck, arms and chest, police said. On the bed, police saw blood on a pillow near the child, who was naked, according to the affidavit.

Police also saw a rubber band of the type typically used to package drugs and asked what it was from. Butts grabbed her pocket and then looked at the bed, claiming the band was “from her Barbie dolls,” police said.

Asked about a bulge in her right pocket, Butts claimed it was her Suboxone, which is used to treat opioid addiction, according to the affidavit. But Butts then produced a vial that contained cocaine, police said.

When police informed her the substance was not Suboxone, Butts tried to hide the vial and began struggling with police as they took her into custody, the charges allege.

A search turned up 10 loose Suboxone pills in a nylon bag that was inside a Mickey Mouse bag containing children’s toys and other items, the affidavit says. Police say they also found two crack pipes, a capped syringe and a wad of Chore Boy scouring pads, which are sometimes used as a screen for smoking crack.

Police removed the child from the room and arrested Butts on charges of child endangerment, reckless endangerment, drug possession, misbranding a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia.

Magisterial District Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo Jr. arraigned Butts on Tuesday night and ordered her jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set at $30,000. A preliminary hearing was set for March 5.

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