WINTER HAVEN (FOX 13) - Polk County deputies say they uncovered an elaborate scheme to smuggle deadly drugs into the county jail.
Sheriff Grady Judd said nine people face felony charges for sending paper soaked in high-inducing chemicals to inmates.
"They were spraying chemicals on paper and once they layered the chemical on the paper, they would dry it, then they would iron it so that it wouldn't be wrinkled then and they would send it in through the normal mail," Judd said, explaining the measures the inmates would take to get high. "They're spraying this stuff on paper and then either smoking it or eating it in the county jail."
Judd said the suspects were spraying K2, or synthetic marijuana, on the pieces of paper. Detectives believe the drugs were sent from China to dealers in Polk County.
Among the suspects are two mothers who, according to the sheriff, sent pieces of paper and disguised them to look like mail from attorneys in order to smuggle them to their sons in jail.
"Here's a message to the other attorneys: the criminals inside are trying to take advantage of you," the sheriff said.
Investigators have since learned some inmates will do anything to get high, including ingesting or smoking paper laced with roach killer.
Judd said detectives first realized this was going on in 2016 and the jail went to a mostly-paperless mail system. Some items from attorneys was still being allowed in.
The sheriff, however, said letters from attorneys will now be copied by staff and the copies will be delivered to inmates. The originals will be re-sealed and mailed back to the sender.