147 Meth-Soaked Letters Smuggled Into O.C. Jails Prompt Sheriff to Crack Down on Inmate Mail

This undated photo shows an incident in which less-lethal munitions were used to diffuse large-scale fights within an Orange County Jail, according to Sheriff's officials. (Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department/ Facebook)

This undated photo shows an incident in which less-lethal munitions were used to diffuse large-scale fights within an Orange County Jail, according to Sheriff's officials. (Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department/ Facebook)

A surge in drug smuggling and trafficking inside Orange County’s jails has led the Sheriff’s Department to crack down on inmate mail after meth-soaked letters and other contraband were found creeping into the facilities.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department posted Monday on Facebook that certain types of inmate mail will now be prohibited. Jailers did not specify what letters would be banned, but said the mailroom is a common avenue for inmates to receive narcotics and other contraband. So far this year, 147 greeting cards containing drugs — most soaked in meth — have been found, authorities said.

The change is meant to decrease drug trafficking, which the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release has ballooned since 2011 when legislators passed Assembly Bill 109. That law shifted the responsibility of lower-level felons from state prisons to county sheriffs and probation departments.

A body scanner similar to those used at airports also has been added to the jail’s intake and release center, sheriff’s officials said. Inmates sometimes try to conceal narcotics “on or in their person,” authorities say, so they will be searched when booked into the jail and after attending court, as well as randomly in their cells. Drug-sniffing canines also will conduct searches of the mailroom for contraband, according to the news release.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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