A Florida sheriff announced nine jail drug-smuggling arrests Tuesday, after paper mailed to inmates tested positive for a synthetic marijuana called K-2 and synthetic amphetamines.
But the latest drug sweeping the county’s jail — one available for purchase in any grocery store — was even more surprising than the inmates’ elaborate drug-smuggling operations.
“Most popular, and they really like this better than the K-2, is Raid and Roach Motel,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a press conference, holding up a can of Raid and a box of Roach Motel. “Did you hear me? They’re spraying the stuff on paper and then either smoking it or eating it in the county jail.”
Judd said the poison-infused paper would then be turned into letters, legal documents or other ostensibly legitimate items. Detectives’ investigation into the drug-smuggling operations began in May 2018, according to the sheriff’s office.
Defense attorneys unwittingly passed drug-sprayed papers (which had been given to them by others) on to their clients in jail, deputies said. Other drug-infused papers were disguised as law firm mail to make it into the jail, according to the sheriff’s office. Girlfriends, mothers and friends of the inmates were implicated — and arrested — in the investigation.
Judd said none of the drug-smuggling arrests he spoke about at the press conference were related to the Raid and Roach Motel. He added that there’s no apparent test for the roach spray.
“This is just a new world that we’re discovering,” Judd said.
He explained during the press conference how one could infuse paper with Roach Motel by putting it in a plastic bag with sheets of paper, sealing it, putting it in heat so the chemicals react and shaking it all up.
Then — once that paper is smuggled into jail as a fake child’s drawing, a Bible verse or an arrest affidavit — the paper can be smoked or eaten to produce a high, he said.
“Are you kidding me?” Judd asked. “Why don’t you try cottage cheese or something?”
During their investigation, authorities learned that roach spray really was the drug of choice, according to the sheriff.
“We’ve received information from sources in the jail that said: ‘K-2 is cool, synthetic amphetamines, cool — but what we really like is the Raid,’ ” Judd said
Judd also emphasized the dangers inherent in getting high off a product designed to poison household pests.
“It’ll kill ya. It kills the roaches,” Judd said. “And criminals are not too far away.”
Judd traced the drug smuggling trend back to 2016, when 13 inmates from the jail were hospitalized because they were “violently ill.” One appeared close to death.
Deputies suspected the inmates had all gotten involved in something illicit — and ultimately convinced the ailing inmates to reveal what they had done. That’s when they learned the inmates had been getting narcotics smuggled into the jail through the mail, via paper sprayed with drugs.
The jail then decided to keep paper mail from coming into the jail altogether, and switched to a paperless system, Judd said.
Even that didn’t stop the smuggling, Judd said.
“This sent all of our narcotics dealers in the jail running for a different system,” Judd said, explaining how drugs began slipping in through attorneys’ mail and papers.
Judd had a message for other lawyers who work with inmates at the jail.
“The criminals inside are trying to take advantage of you,” he said.