Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Public safety

Deputies: Inmate sold drugs hidden behind postage stamps

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies say three people, two of them inmates, smuggled a narcotic into the Pinellas County Jail.

Kaitlyn Pergola, 29, David Michael Gavin, 30, and Jermonte Russell Rushing, 31, were all charged with introducing contraband into a county detention facility.

Authorities say Pergola, Gavin's girlfriend, sent 11 pieces of mail with orange squares hidden behind postage stamps.

The orange squares contained the drug Suboxone, an opioid used to relieve heroin withdrawal. Authorities became suspicious Aug. 1, when Gavin was being prepared for transfer to the Jefferson County Jail to face probation violation charges.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Gavin began asking every jail employee or deputy he passed to help him retrieve his mail. Investigations found that mail containing the orange squares had been sent to Gavin and his cellmate, Rushing, who faces a carjacking charge. Testing showed that the squares contained Suboxone.

The stamps were later sold to other inmates for $20 each, good enough for five doses.

The envelopes bore fictitious return addresses that were later linked to Pergola, of Trinity. Deputies arrested her Monday and she admitted her role in the crime, sheriff's officials said.

She also faces violation of probation charges for doctor shopping. She was being held in jail Monday night without bail.

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Published: 12/12/17