5 Cocke County inmates charged with trying to sneak in contraban

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5 Cocke County inmates charged with trying to sneak in contraband by 'fishing'

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By SHELBY MILLER
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - Five Cocke County inmates are facing additional charges after officers say the women broke a window out of a cell, trying to sneak contraband into the jail.

The five inmates came up with a plan to smuggle drugs into their jail cell on the third floor of the Cocke County Courthouse, but it didn't take long for the sheriff's office to catch on.

"Most of them were dealing and struggling with substance abuse issues, and they just decided that they were going to work together to try to bring some into the facility," said Sheriff Armando Fontes.

The crime is called "fishing," and is an issue Sheriff Fontes says the jail deals with regularly. Over the past six months, he says they've caught nearly a dozen people in the act.

"We've covered the windows with welding. we've done several different things to prevent them from doing what is called fishing," he said.

Despite the window covers, the women were able to use the handle of a mop to break the bottom corner of the window.

They tied bed sheets together to make a rope, which they would drop down to a person on the outside.

"We're not able to monitor every single call that goes out, but we do have a system in place where we go back and look at phone calls and evaluate things of that nature," said the sheriff.

From tobacco to cell phones, food and illegal drugs, Sheriff Fontes says inmates try to smuggle in just about anything, but this time, their accomplice never showed up.

"However, they did vandalize the cell window and they also vandalized the bedding, so they were charged accordingly," he said.

The five women pleaded guilty to vandalism in court Friday morning and remain behind bars.

The sheriff's office says if the women would have gone through with the plan and brought contraband into the jail cell, they would have faced felony charges.

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