Washington Woman Accused of Mailing Drugs to Jail Through Books Disguised as Amazon Packages

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An informant told authorities that someone was receiving and selling parcels within the local jail.

A Washington state woman was allegedly mailing drugs hidden inside books into a local county jail and state prison, according to Yakima County drug task force officers.

The Law Enforcement Against Drugs task force, made up of officers from the Washington State Patrol, the sheriff’s office, and the Sunnyside, Granger, Grandview, Selah and Yakama Nation Tribal police departments — were given news of an informant reporting an inmate receiving and selling packages in the North Street Jail, according to local authorities.

Detectives were able to identify the suspect through evidence that included recorded calls from the local jail, leading to her arrest on Thursday on suspicion of three counts of possessing suboxone with intent to deliver and three counts of third-degree introducing contraband into a corrections facility.

According to the affidavit, that same day, the jail found suboxone hidden within the cover of a Bible that had been mailed to the inmate. It came in a package that appeared to be from an Amazon warehouse, but was from a local Sunnyside store that offers shipping services.

One of the store’s owners told investigators that this package had been sent by a woman who allegedly had also sent six other packages to the jail, and confirmed that the parcels were in recycled Amazon packaging, according to authorities.

The inmate who was receiving the packages was transferred to the Airway Heights Corrections Center. 

At the hearing on Friday, Deputy Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Quinten Bowman said a $7,500 bail would be appropriate considering the patterns of the events, but the woman’s defense attorney, Beth Wehrkamp, argued for releasing her, according to local outlet Big Country News.

Wehrkamp said that her client “accepts responsibility for a very poor decision” and noted her cooperation with police, including telling detectives that she had been directed to mail drugs to several inmates, one of whom told her how to conceal them, according to the affidavit.

Yakima County Superior Court Judge David Elofson ordered the release of the 53-year-old woman who sent the packages under the pretrial release program, with reminders about future court dates sent through text messages, according to the local outlet. 

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