Inmates accused of pushing drugs in jail - FOX 13 News

Inmates accused of pushing drugs in jail

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Pinellas (FOX 13) -

Investigators say 30-year old David Gavin had quite the penpal during his 7-month stay at the Pinellas County Jail.

Deputies say as he was preparing to be transferred to a different jail near Tallahassee, he became panicked over his letters that were still being processed.

"It got repetitive to the point that our deputies in the jail started to become suspicious about the big interest in his mail," Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Cecilia Barreda said Tuesday.

When mail clerks took a closer look, they found a little extra something stuck behind each of the stamps on 11 letters.

"There appeared to be some kind of orange-yellowish strip attached to the back of the stamp," Barreda said.

Turns out, that strip was Suboxone, a prescription opiate known on the street as 'heroin on a breath strip'.

Detectives say Gavin's girlfriend, Kaitlyn Pergola, was mailing the secret stash to him and his cell mate, Jermonte Rushing, for months.

The two are accused of then selling the drugs to other inmates.

This is the second time inmates have been busted smuggling contraband into the Pinellas County Jail this month.

Just a few weeks ago, two inmates were caught on camera reeling in cigarettes and drugs attached to a fishing line by a visiting friend.

Deputies say they've cut off both contraband operations, leaving inmates facing additional charges and landing their outside sources alongside them behind bars.

"We are being very, very vigilant about this sort of situation," Barreda said.

Hillsborough and Pasco County jails have actually banned inmates from receiving mail in envelopes due to contraband concerns.

They only allow jail mail to come in the form of postcards.

Stamps are peeled off before they ever make it to the inmate.

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