Authorities step up to keep contraband out of jail

COCKE COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)-- They're inside a cell 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Their every move caught on camera. But what can't be seen, how some inmates are planning to get their fix.

According to Cocke County Sheriff Armando Fontes, they have plenty of time to think of creative ways to sneak things in. At times, they're successful.

Sheriff Fontes displayed some of the contraband found inside the Cocke County jail including pills, tobacco and a bag of medication one inmate pretended to be taking.

"He was just hoarding it so he can try to sell it," he said.

Among the confiscated items were balloons.
Fontes said some inmates use them to package things like tobacco and hide it in their rectum.
They would do so with butter the jail had to quit providing.

"It's a struggle because when someone is addicted they'll do whatever they can to get that into our facilities," Fontes said.

So how do they mangage to get the contraband into the jail?
Authorities said it's with the help from a relative or friend.

"We recently discovered they're taking suboxene strips, that look like the little breath strips you buy in a store. They're hiding those behind postage stamps and on the envelopes," he said.

Some of them go the extra mile.

"If they have a family member who knows they will be working, they'll sit at a distance to see where the work crews go. They'll drive by and throw it out the window, and it very easily goes undetected," Fontes said.

Sheriff Fontes said they do everything they can to keep contraband out.
But if it does make it inside the jail, it doesn't stay as long as the inmates.

"It's very important for our staff and us to help these individuals who are struggling with addiction to stay clean," he said. That way they can serve their time, they become productive members of society.

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