Hopewell city employee indicted, accused of smuggling drugs to prisoner

HOPEWELL, Va. -- A Hopewell city employee has been indicted for allegedly smuggling drugs to a prisoner and bribing a public official, according to criminal indictments and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Patrice Shelton, Special Assistant to City Council (Mayors Office) was recently indicted on five drug-related charges and one charge for bribery of a public official out of Buckingham County.

All of the indictments date back to September 15 through October 4 of 2018, before she worked for the City of Hopewell.

The charges were initially nolle prossed, meaning they are dismissed but can be brought back at a later date. The exact same charges are back recently in the indictment.

CBS 6 obtained the indictments from Buckingham Circuit Court. Five involve drugs, two for conspiring to introduce a controlled synthetic substance to a prisoner, two for possessing illegal drugs with intent to distribute, and one for attempting to distribute heroin.

The witness to the grand jury for all six indictments is a special agent with the Dillwyn Correctional Center in Buckingham County.

Hopewell City Council held a special closed meeting on Tuesday that was called for by city council members on Monday, to discuss a personal matter.  The agenda was to discuss and consider personal matters including the appointment, assignment, resignation and performance of specific public officers appointees and employees of the city.

Hopewell City Mayor Jasmine Gore confirms with CBS 6 that Shelton was an intern and special assistant to council and that she was unaware of her prior charges.

“She applied to stay on until December and unfortunately the background check information wasn’t given to me," said Mayor Gore. "So I was not aware of that results, but at least one member of council and two staff members knew about it and unfortunately they chose to with hold it until we had a meeting to talk about it.”

City Council will continue their closed session meeting on Wednesday at Hopewell City Hall at 6:30 p.m.

CBS 6 reached out to Hopewell Human Resources to find out the employment status of Patrice Shelton on Monday. We were told no comment. CBS 6 also reached out to city administration who responded with no comment. In addition, multiple calls to the Hopewell City Attorney have not been returned.

Shelton is due back in Buckingham Circuit Court on October 30.

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