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Sheriff's office: Paper soaked in narcotics smuggled into jail, 12 people arrested

Fentanyl, methamphetamine and Suboxone strips were found in mail sent to various inmates, the sheriff's office said.

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo — A dozen people who were part of a drug trafficking organization that was introducing and distributing narcotics to inmates in the Larimer County Jail have been arrested, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) said.

At the end of last year, jail staff noticed an increase in narcotics being introduced into the jail that were not being detected by usual methods, LCSO said.

A jail deputy began investigating and noticed suspicious activity involving an inmate’s incoming mail, phone calls and text messages through the inmate communications system (tablet). 

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The deputy believed the phone calls and text messages contained coded language about narcotics, such as how to send them to inmates in the jail and how inmates would pay those on the outside for the narcotics.

In March of this year, the deputy intercepted a letter mailed to an inmate and the paper tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine, according to LCSO.

Jail staff contacted the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force (NCDTF) in April and “Operation Arts and Crafts” was initiated. The NCDTF and jail deputies worked together to further monitor communications and intercept mail sent to the jail. 

Fentanyl, methamphetamine and Suboxone strips were found in mail sent to various inmates, the sheriff's office said.

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The methods of introduction included paper soaked in narcotics, narcotics infused into the ink on paper and narcotics hidden in the seams of commercially available envelopes. 

The investigation allowed NCDTF detectives to obtain a search warrant for a home in the 400 block of E. 57th Street in Loveland.

The warrant was executed on Friday and resulted in evidence seizures and arrests. Jail deputies also searched the housing areas of the suspected involved inmates and found additional contraband.

Effective Wednesday, all personal inmate mail including letters, pictures and drawings will be digitally scanned and delivered to inmates via tablets, the sheriff's office said.

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