Indy woman sentenced in look-alike drug case

GREENFIELD — An Indianapolis woman caught trying to pass over-the-counter medicine off as narcotic drugs will spend one year in prison.

Nicole Haney, 27, 4018 Alsace Place, Indianapolis, accepted a deal with prosecutors in her criminal case requiring her to plead guilty to corrupt business influence and dealing a look-alike substance, both Level 5 felonies; Thursday, Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver sentenced her to one year in an Indiana Department of Correction facility followed by two years of probation.

Culver also ordered her to participate in a drug-treatment program while in prison at the recommendation of local probation officers.

Haney will receive credit for the time she served in jail between June 1 and Aug. 16.

Haney and another woman, Sierra Fields, 25, 7406 Sioux Run, Indianapolis, were arrested in June after police said they caught the pair trying to sell over-the-counter medicine as narcotic drugs.

Fields pleaded guilty last week to a dealing a substance represented as a controlled substance as a Level 6 felony and criminal gang activity as a Level 6 felony.

She has agreed to enroll in a drug treatment program. A hearing to check her progress in that program is scheduled for Nov. 4

Investigators used undercover informants to buy drugs from the women; tablets the pair marketed as prescription narcotics in the deal turned out to be just over-the-counter headache medicine, police said.

Selling look-alike drugs — even if their chemical makeup is, in fact, harmless — carries the same penalty as actually selling illegal drugs, officials said.

Haney and Fields agreed to meet in Greenfield on several occasions to sell narcotic pills, investigators said. Once those deals with undercover informants were complete, and the drugs were handed over to detectives, it was clear the women were selling counterfeit substances, officers said.

The pills looked like Percocet — a strong prescription painkiller — but turned out to be just Tylenol capsules, detectives said.

Haney had faced the following charges: one Level 5 felony count of corrupt business influence; two Level 5 felony counts of dealing in a look-alike substance; two Level 6 felony counts of dealing substances represented as controlled substances; two Level 6 felony counts of conspiracy to commit drug dealing; one Level 6 felony count of maintaining a common nuisance; one Level 6 felony count of criminal gang activity; and one Class A misdemeanor of driving while suspended.

Fields faced two Level 5 felony counts of dealing in a look-alike substance; two Level 6 felony counts of dealing substances represented as controlled substances; one Level 6 felony count of conspiracy to commit drug dealing; and one Level 6 felony count of criminal gang activity.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.