An East Grand Forks mother who's serving a 12-year sentence for trying to kill her two young daughters won't have to serve additional prison time for running an illegal business that reportedly distributed thousands of prescription weight-loss pills.
Breezetta Etienne, 33, pleaded guilty Tuesday to five counts of committing a fifth-degree drug crime. Fourteen other similar charges were dropped.
Etienne received a 21-month sentence in the drug case, but she'll do that time while she's serving 12 years on the attempted murder convictions.
According to a criminal complaint, Etienne was selling the prescription weight loss drug Phentermine when she was a physician assistant at Grand Forks Air Force Base but was not certified to write prescriptions.
During a November 2007 interview, Etienne told investigators that in February 2007 she started selling Phentermine pills through a home-based business she called "EZ Breezy Weight Loss and Wellness," the complaint states.
She told investigators the business was a way to raise money to fund a legal-defense team for her brother, Moe Gibbs, who was facing a murder charge, the complaint says. Gibbs was ultimately convicted of murdering Mindy Morgenstern, a student at Valley City (N.D.) State University.
From March 2007 to July 2008, 25,000 Phentermine pills were shipped from Seattle to Etienne's home, and she sold the pills to buyers in person or through the mail, the complaint says. In that time, Etienne distributed more Phentermine than all the pharmacies in Polk County, Minn., combined, the complaint alleges.
On June 22, 2008, East Grand Forks police officers went to Etienne's home to check on her after her husband reported receiving troubling text messages from her. When police found an SUV running inside Etienne's garage, they kicked in a door and removed Etienne and her daughters, ages 3 and 4, from the vehicle, according to court documents.
Court documents say a hose ran from the tailpipe to the vehicle's interior, and a suicide note rested on the console. Prosecutors said Etienne was under the influence of Phentermine and alcohol at the time. The girls were not injured, authorities said.
Etienne pleaded guilty in June 2009 to two counts of second-degree attempted murder and was sentenced in October 2009. She's serving her time at a state prison in Shakopee, Minn.
Ingersoll reports on crime and courts. Reach him at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.