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Eight Tennessee inmates treated after two smuggle drugs in ‘body cavities,’ police say

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Eight female inmates were hospitalized for emergency treatment in Putnam County, Tennessee, after allegedly snorting drugs that two of the other inmates had smuggled inside, police said.

The inmates were transported from the Putnam County Jail to Cookeville Regional Medical Center after nearly dying of an apparent overdose, according to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Police confiscated a mixture of fentanyl and heroin. 

According to investigators, inmates Nicole Danielle Ealey and Jasmine Richelle Lancaster smuggled the drugs into the jail by hiding them in body cavities while they were booked on July 12, 2023. Ealey was incarcerated for illegal drug activity. 

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Eight female inmates were hospitalized from drugs that Nicole-Danielle Ealey and Jasmine Richelle Lancaster allegedly smuggled into the Putnam County jail (Putnam County Sheriff Office)

The pair allegedly distributed, assisted and provided the illicit drugs to other inmates in their pod, causing the overdoses and near deaths of some of the inmates, deputies said.

“Witnesses, statements and other evidence has confirmed that both Ealey and Lancaster smuggled the heroin/fentanyl into the jail through one of their body cavities while being admitted into the jail,” Sheriff Eddie Farris said in a statement. 

Though the inmates had been strip-searched during booking, authorities did not initially find the drugs on their persons. 

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Putnam County Sheriff's Office

A general view of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said each of the eight inmates involved in the overdose incident has been charged with simple possession.  (Putnam County Sheriff’s Office)

“Even though inmates are strip searched and scanned while being admitted into our facility, items inside a body cavity are not able to be seen at times,” said Jail Administrator Major Tim Nash.

Officials identified the other inmates involved as Krystal Gail Auxier, Racheal Lee Blackard, Sarah Elisabeth Miller, Jamie Sue Bullard, Chantel Renee Keagle, Sarah Nichole King, Angie Lanette Taylor and Brittany Lynn Bryant.

Three inmates were released from the hospital, but five others ware admitted for overnight care, according to the deputies.

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Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid responsible for more than 100,000 overdose deaths across the nation last year, police said.  (Joy Addison/Fox News)

“I am glad that none of the corrections officers or inmates have died due to the use or exposure of the deadly drug fentanyl,” Farris said. “There were over 100,000 overdose deaths across the nation last year. And 90% of our inmates in Putnam County are incarcerated for illegal drug activity whether it be through direct or indirect activity.” 

All the individuals involved have been charged with simple possession/casual exchange for the incident, deputies said.

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Additionally, Ealey has been charged with five counts of attempted second-degree murder, introduction of contraband inside of a penal facility, and simple possession/casual exchange for her role in allegedly bringing the drugs into the jail. 

Lancaster has also been charged with five counts of attempted second-degree murder, simple possession/casual exchange and introduction of contraband into the jail facility. 



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