Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Sunday

April 21, 2013

Pugsley officials fight drug smuggling

KINGSLEY — It was a thought-out scheme, developed during a series of coded phone calls.

Three people were to deliver illegal drugs to Pugsley Correctional Facility in Kingsley. A man would place a package of marijuana under a dumpster outside the gated grounds to be retrieved by an inmate who had supervised access to the area. Two female accomplices would leave more drugs in the prison lobby's bathroom.

On April 2, the man followed those instructions, but found himself in law enforcement's cross hairs when authorities uncovered the scheme. He's accused of planting a Durex box containing 135 grams of marijuana, stuffed into coin wrappers placed into condoms, under the dumpster.

The marijuana never made it into the prisoner's hands.

Pugsley officers monitored the inmate's phone calls and alerted the Traverse Narcotics Team, whose members set up surveillance and nabbed the trio the day of the drop.

Joshua Robertson, 25, Mia Addes, 45, and Stephanie Doss, 39, were bound over to 13th Circuit Court on felonies for furnishing contraband to a prison. Court records show they admitted to conspiring to deliver marijuana and tobacco. Robertson and Doss are from Petoskey, while Addes is from Harbor Springs.

Pugsley Warden Shirlee Harry said the arrests were among the most significant smuggling busts since she took the position in 2005. Prison staffers actively and aggressively try to stay in front of drug activities by administering inmate pat-downs, drug tests, canine searches and monitoring phone calls. But they can't catch it all.

"We know it's getting in," Harry said. "I don’t think there’s a fail-safe way to say that this environment will be a drug-free institution. That’s unrealistic."

Providing to a prisoner is no small risk. Furnishing contraband and conspiracy are four-year felonies. "Folks on the outside" might jeopardize their freedom because "it's big money," Harry said.

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