CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — For the last two months, the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office has been investigating a “complex scheme” to get drugs into the county jail. The investigation resulted in several indictments and criminal warrants being served.
Five people were arrested on felony charges after taking part in the scheme. One woman, Erica Freeman-Butler is still on the run.
According to the sheriff’s office, one of the schemes involved a loophole dealing with legal mail sent to inmates. Due to existing restrictions, jail staff is prohibited from conducting a thorough and detailed examination of legal mail as opposed to general mail for inmates.
“One search of an inmate’s possessions recovered one legal letter that had been delivered that was found to contain almost two dozen Suboxone strips which are a sublingual film placed under the tongue,” the sheriff’s office said in a release. “These strips are easily concealed in between paper, under postage stamps, and even under envelope flaps making them difficult to see through the use of x-ray technology.”
Captain Eric Jones with the sheriff’s office said authorities found out about the scheme through phone calls and monitoring video in and out of the jail.
“We ended up finding out that the inmates inside of the jail were actually communicating with those persons on the outside to let them know here’s how you do it,” Jones said.
Jones said schemes like these aren’t anything new for local law enforcement.
“I’m sure the department of corrections and things like that has had the experience in this before and unfortunately, you know, now it’s starting to come into play here at the Chesterfield County Jail,” Jones told 8News.
The following people have been charged so far:
The sheriff’s office will continue investigating. Moving forward, legal mail will be opened and inspected by a deputy in the presence of the recipient.
If you have any information about the case or where Erica Freeman-Butler may be, the sheriff’s office asks you to call Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers at (804) 748-0660 or click p3tips.com/699 to submit a tip.