Joe P. Asher
An ongoing investigation has led to the arrest of four people accused of smuggling controlled substances, specifically Suboxone strips, into the Harlan County Detention Center (HCDC).
Charged earlier this week were Deryan Caldwell, 32, and Stephanie Caldwell, 31, both of Bledsoe, Daniel Bustle, 33, of Harlan, and Larissa Jones, 24, of Dayhoit. The charges of promoting contraband result from an investigation involving the Kentucky State Police and HCDC staff.
According to HCDC officials, Suboxone strips are one of the biggest problems they face as far as drugs being sent into the jail. As early as 2011, word spread about Suboxone strips and how easily they could be smuggled into a detention facility. The problem became so widespread many facilities have begun removing mail all together and replacing it with post cards sold at the jail commissary.
White T-shirts, socks and underwear supplied to inmates from family and friends were also being utilized as a means of getting the strips past authorities to inmates. The strips are easily hidden behind false tags or sewed into the seams of a garment.
Staff at the HCDC said a key strategy was to form an alliance with the state police, who have been invaluable in their case building and investigation, which has netted results.
Harlan County Detention Center Sgt. Derrick Moore noted it is the introduction of Suboxone strips that has made things harder for authorities to stop illegal contraband from entering the jail.
“The decriminalization of drug laws in the state of Kentucky has catered to the trafficker. They take more chances with fewer consequences,” said Moore. “Some pharmaceutical company decided that Suboxone was too hard to swallow in pill form, so they put it on a paper-thin breath strip.”
HCDC officials noted that being caught introducing illegal contraband into a jail facility carries some serious consequences.
“Even if you’re given a low bond when you come in, even if your out within two weeks, when you do face time in the jails we make sure you’re not able to work inside or outside the facility,” said one HCDC official. “You lose all your meritorious good time. You probably won’t go to a substance abuse program. You’re stuck in the jail for as long a period as possible. Because they don’t trust you. If you try to bring any kind of substance into a jail, the Kentucky Department of Corrections looks at that as the worst category they can, besides physically attacking someone. It’s a big charge with the Department of Corrections.”
Officials at the HCDC said more cases are currently being investigated.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510 or firstname.lastname@example.org