Alleged drug-smuggling ploy discovered at Ind. jail

A woman faces accusations that she smuggled drugs using mail disguised as legal correspondence to an inmate at the jail


Aimee Ambrose
Goshen News, Ind.

GOSHEN, Ind. — A Goshen woman faces accusations she smuggled strips of an addictions treatment drug, using mail disguised as legal correspondence, to an inmate at the Elkhart County Jail.

Kristi Haley, 25, was charged with a felony count of trafficking with an inmate and a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance in Elkhart County Superior Court 2 Tuesday following her arrest last week.

Police investigators were led to Haley’s alleged involvement in February. They began investigating Dwight Hawkins, 35, Elkhart, for a scheme to have Suboxone and synthetic marijuana brought into the jail via legal mail, the probable cause affidavit in the case shows.

Investigators pulled several recordings of phone conversations and email between Hawkins and Haley over a period of days in February. Hawkins expressed growing concerns about not receiving mail Haley sent, and he questioned her about how she sent the item and whether she received a receipt for an attorney transaction, the affidavit shows.

On Feb. 16, Hawkins told Haley he was worried about losing $700 as they discussed the missing envelope.

“Dwight Hawkins told Kristi Haley that this isn’t good business, and that he only does good business,” police said in the affidavit.

Three days prior, in the case’s early stages, investigators searched a piece of mail addressed to Hawkins that appeared to be legal correspondence. But inside were pages with apparently random Indiana code designations printed on them, the affidavit shows.

One of the sheets had wrapped orange strips of Suboxone taped to the back of it, investigators said. Suboxone is prescription medication designed to help treat opioid addictions. The drug combines a mild type of opioid with medicine that blocks opioid effects, which is intended to ease withdrawal symptoms and dependence.

The envelope containing the Suboxone strips used Elkhart County Public Defender Peter Todd’s name for the return address. But the style seemed suspicious, the affidavit shows.

“The envelope did not look right and looked as if someone just used a typewriter and typed both Peter Todd’s information and Dwight Hawkins’ information on it,” police said in the document.

Todd told police he hadn’t sent Hawkins any mail, the affidavit states.

Haley was arrested and questioned March 1. She reportedly told investigators Hawkins was her boyfriend and he concocted the alleged smuggling scheme, the affidavit shows. According to the court document, Haley is believed to have sent mail to the jail four or five times.

Haley reportedly described how, under Hawkins’ direction, she would purchase the Suboxone from a person for about $10 per strip, attach the drug to pages of Indiana codes, and mail them to the jail with an attorney’s name printed as the sender, the affidavit shows. She believed Hawkins would then sell the strips in Jail.

“Kristi Haley stated that other inmates would tell their friend or significant other on the outside to meet with her to pay her,” police said in the affidavit. “Kristi Haley did not know of how much was made from doing this as she never kept track.”

The affidavit states Haley told police she still had Suboxone in her vehicle the day she was arrested. In addition, Haley also told police she was going to start sending mail under the name of a new attorney based in Portage, the affidavit shows.

Hawkins was represented by the Public Defender’s Office in a couple cases against him from 2018, but he hired an attorney from a firm in Portage last month.

Hawkins remains jailed on charges from three different cases, including multiple felony counts of failing to register as a sex offender, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, court and Jail information show.

Haley bonded out of jail shortly after she was arrested. Her initial court hearing is scheduled for Friday.

This case comes about five months after charges were filed against an Elkhart woman accused of participating in a similar alleged scheme.

Taionna Owens, 25, was arrested last October on a charge of trafficking with an inmate after an investigation found she allegedly hid strips of Suboxone in mail she sent to an inmate, Marshall Love, while he faced a robbery charge stemming from a recent bank robbery.

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©2019 the Goshen News (Goshen, Ind.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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