(PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla.) — A pair of Florida jail inmates accused of using fishing line to reel in cigarettes, pot, lighters and other jailhouse contraband have landed additional criminal charges, officials said Friday.
Inmates Mark Keating, 53, and Phillip Henderson, 40, along with their friend Eric Snook, 39, have been charged with smuggling the contraband into Pinellas County Jail.
Keating and Henderson lowered “a nylon rope from the sixth floor recreation yard of the detention facility” to Snook, who waited outside, police said. Snook then allegedly tied a bag full of contraband goods to the rope, and the two inmates pulled it up through a rain drainage hole on the top floor.
Sgt. David DiSano said it seems like the smuggling has been going on for about two months, but Keating, Henderson and Snook were caught this week when their plan didn’t go as expected.
While pulling up their latest catch, the bag containing the contraband items fell onto the jail’s fourth floor.
Police found the “grocery-sized bag” containing “approximately 29 grams of marijuana (valued near $1,500 in the jail), tobacco products, lighters and other miscellaneous items,” according to a police news release. Tips from other inmates led the detectives to Keating, Henderson and Snook, and the three men were charged with introduction of contraband into a county detention facility,” police said.
That crime is a felony, said DiSano, so Keating and Henderson, who are currently in jail for a host of theft convictions, could now face longer jail sentences, and Snook may find himself in a prison cell of his own.
To prevent activity of this sort in the future, a 6 foot high chain link fence was constructed in the yard where Snook used to tie the contraband to the rope, police said.
They also said that more arrests and charges may be added as the investigation continues.
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Sherisse Pham, CNN
Jason Hanna and Deborah Feyerick, CNN