Elaborate drug smuggling scheme leads to changes in mail distribution system at Osceola Corrections

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — An elaborate scheme at Osceola County Corrections through which inmates were sneaking contraband into the jail has led to a major change in their mail system.

Documents obtained exclusively by WFTV reveal exactly how the inmates were operating before they were caught.

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According to records, the intelligence unit at Osceola County Corrections started investigating after increased reports of inmates “appearing under the influence of drugs” and reports regarding the smell of smoke and burnt paper.

In August, a corrections officer reported seeing an inmate who was struggling to stand and failing to respond to direct questions.

According to records, once the inmate recovered, he said he had an “epiphany” and wanted to help the intelligence unit rid the facility of a particular synthetic drug.

The inmate claimed to have overdosed after he acquired several pieces of paper that had been treated with unknown chemicals believed to be synthetic marijuana, more popularly known as K2.

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The inmate said the drug was brought into the jail through the mail.

According to records, the intelligence unit learned that someone outside the facility was sending mail with suspected synthetic marijuana on a sheet of ordinary paper to the Osceola Corrections Department.

“Once the inmate would receive the treated paper, it would be distributed to other inmates for a fee,” the report states. “The intelligence unit determined one sheet can garner upwards of $2,000.”

The intelligence unit said the envelope with the treated paper in it listed a large Central Florida law firm as the sender, but their investigators determined they weren’t involved.

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As a result of the investigation, Osceola County Corrections switched to digitizing their incoming mail.

Now, inmates will only have access to scanned copies of their mail rather than the original.

In a statement, Osceola County Corrections Chief Bryan Holt said his department works diligently to locate contraband while also trying to stay ahead of the “ever-changing” ways inmates try to bring it into the facility.

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