MANDEVILLE – Inmates and trustees at the St. Tammany Parish jail were using their girlfriends to smuggle marijuana, meth, pills, and other contraband into the jail.
Eleven people, including current inmate trustees, face charges in the scheme, which St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith led to a months-long investigation.
“The hard work of our detectives and deputies at our jail helped us recognize areas of concern, which led to multiple arrests,” Smith said. “Those areas are actively being addressed and corrected through tighter security measures, particularly concerning trustee inmates.”
The trustees, which are allowed outside of the jail on limited work assignments, would pick up drugs and other contraband deposited by their girlfriends and smuggle them back inside the jail.
Inmate Justin Olivieri led the narcotics distribution network within the jail, while his girlfriend Melanie Barletto and Erin Dutton, the girlfriend of inmate trustee Christopher Conway, handled the supply.
Trustees Casey Collins, Joshua Felton, Joseph Austin, John Bigner, and Blayne O’Neal were also involved in the scheme.
John Bigner’s wife Lauren Bigner and Kimberly Lee also face charges.
The drugs smuggled into the jail include pot, meth, hydrocodone, belbuca, Xanax, suboxone, and adderall.