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Attempt to smuggle contraband foiled

Columbia City woman arrested in prison check

Reavis

A 27-year-old Columbia City woman tried to smuggle contraband to a man serving time at a state prison Saturday, according to Indiana Department of Correction officials.

Police at the Westville Correctional Facility arrested Ashley Reavis after they found she had the unspecified contraband with her while she checked in to visit an inmate at the prison in northwest Indiana.

Reavis was booked into the LaPorte County Jail and faces one charge of felony trafficking, according to prison officials.

"Trafficking impacts us more than most people realize," Mark Levenhagen, superintendent of the Westville prison, said in a written statement Sunday.

"When fights and violence occur, they can often be traced back to contraband."

In 2011, prison officials confiscated the following contraband:

•More than 1,100 weapons

•More than 1,600 cellphones or chargers

•192 pounds of tobacco, 11.1 pounds of marijuana and at least 2.46 pounds of synthetic marijuana

•More than $3,000 cash

Prison officials did not say what Reavis is accused of trying to smuggle into the prison, but she was visiting 29-year-old inmate Blake Settles, who is from Fort Wayne.

Settles is serving time for dealing and possession of look-alike substances, theft and receiving stolen property, operating a vehicle as a habitual offender and felony escape, according to prison officials.

He is scheduled for release in 2016.

In an interview in March, Department of Correction spokesman Douglas Garrison said that every prison everywhere has a trafficking problem and that officials "don't want any of this stuff in there, but it gets in anyway."

While tobacco is the most popular contraband people sneak into prisons, cellphones have become popular as well, Garrison said in March.

In a statement Sunday, Commissioner Bruce Lemmon of the Department of Correction commended Westville's staff members and their diligence in finding the contraband Reavis is accused of trying to get inside the prison.

"Catching traffickers benefits not only the facility, but also the general public," Lemmon said.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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