OTTAWA — A La Salle woman avoided prison Thursday after pleading guilty to La Salle County’s first synthetic cannabis charge.
Rachel S. Mann, 32, of 353 Fifth St. was scheduled to stand trial today on charges she delivered two banned substances, 1-pentyl and 1-5-fluoropentyl, on May 30 and May 31 at a Peru convenience store where Mann had been employed.
However, Mann averted trial Thursday when she entered a guilty plea in an unscheduled hearing.
She pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, a Class 3 felony carrying 2-5 years in prison, and one count of disorderly conduct, a Class 4 felony carrying 1-3 years, for an unrelated charge of filing a false report.
In exchange for her pleas, prosecutors agreed to 30 months probation plus a mental health evaluation and period drug tests and time served. It was Mann’s first felony conviction.
Mann’s arrest was the first in county history for “synthetic cannabis,” a label loosely assigned to an array of chemicals that mimic the effects of cannabis with more intensity.
Police say synthetic cannabis, a relatively new arrival on the black market, is difficult to police because the product requires laboratory testing to identify and because manufacturers are constantly tweaking formulas to skirt the law.
Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or email@example.com.