Drugs smuggled by mail harder to spot at county jail

WARREN – Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office officials are spending more time these days hunting for drugs being smuggled behind bars.

”We’ve talked further with those in the Prosecutor’s Office to set up some guidelines, and those working in the jail are spending more time searching the mail. We intend to actively prosecute,” Major Tom Stewart, a detective in the office, said.

The announcement follows grand jury indictments Thursday against an inmate and a female friend who Stewart said attempted to mail a quantity of Suboxone on a greeting card into the lockup Feb. 13. The drug, generically known as buprenorphine, is similar to methadone and used as a substitute for heroin.

Direct presentment cases to the grand jury show Priscilla M. ”Peaches” Miller, 33, of Difford Drive, Niles, faces a third-degree felony charge of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified government facility.

Inmate Hargus D. Hall, 32, formerly of Bazetta, faces a third-degree felony charge of complicity to the same charge.

Stewart said Miller is accused of sending a birthday card to Hall that showed a comical dog with his tongue hanging out. Stuck to the tongue was a dose of the drug no thicker than a sheet of film, Stewart said.

”If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t find it,” Stewart said.

Miller and Hall, who is in jail on a probation violation out of Eastern District Court, are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges March 31. Stewart said it was the fourth time since October that attempts were made to smuggle drugs into the lockup, including one by another woman who tried to send a male inmate a mailing that contained 13 marijuana joints and cigarettes.

”It’s usually women, girlfriends or ex-girlfriends who are trying to do this. We used to handle it administratively and take away privileges. Now we’re prosecuting these cases,” the major said.

”We’re checking the mail every night,” he said.