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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 1:40 pm

Drug-seeking scanner demonstrated at Whitley jail

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

COLUMBIA CITY -- Jail administrators say it's inevitable contraband will make its way into the facilities to inmates.

But the ways in which inmates get illicit items, including drugs, have grown more complicated.

The substances can be crushed up and hidden behind stamps or within crayon drawings sent to prisoners. A drug used to treat addiction to opiates comes in strips that dissolve under the tongue and can be hidden behind seams in envelopes or in the glue to seal them, jailers say.

To combat what they say is an increase in drugs being sent to jails, officials in Allen County and northern Indiana are considering buying scanners to look through inmates' mail. A Pittsburgh company showed off one of the machines -- which can look through correspondence and identify drugs hidden inside -- in Whitley County on Wednesday.

Dozens of Allen County Jail employees were sickened in November after a substance believed to be the powerful opioid fentanyl was sent to the facility.

For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 1 a.m. Thursday.

mleblanc@jg.net