By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Warsaw woman will serve a three-year sentence locally after attempting to bring drugs and chewing tobacco into the Kosciusko County Jail.
Julie Ann Pierce, 49, 3457 W. 100S, Warsaw, was charged with attempted trafficking with an inmate, a level 5 felony.
Pierce was sentenced in Kosciusko Circuit Court on Thursday, Feb. 10.
On Oct. 11, 2021, an Indiana State Trooper was contacted by the Kosciusko County Jail commander, who requested the trooper complete an investigation for trafficking with an inmate at KCJ.
On Oct. 12, 2021, the KCJ commander provided the trooper with information jail officers compiled regarding the attempted trafficking investigation. Evidence included a plastic bag containing chewing tobacco pouches, two orange-colored pills and digital video and audio recordings.
The jail commander advised that on Oct. 10, 2021, a jail officer escorted an inmate, who was a KCJ trustee, from the jail to take trash to a dumpster outside of KCJ. The trustee retrieved an item from the dumpster and placed it in his jail uniform pocket. According to court documents, the jail officer waited until the trustee was close to him and retrieved the item from the trustee’s pocket.
The package retrieved from the dumpster contained chewing tobacco pouches and two pills identified as a controlled substance.
Surveillance video and jail phone calls of the incident were also provided to the Indiana State trooper. Jason P. Spriggs, 39, Warsaw, made phone calls to Pierce, in which he instructed her on how to package the contraband and to put it on a trash dumpster outside of the jail.
Video footage showed Pierce walking up to the jail’s trash dumpster on Oct. 6, 2021. On Oct. 9, 2021, footage showed Pierce walking up to the trash dumpster and placing a package into the dumpster’s rails.
The jail trustee who retrieved the package told officers that Spriggs told him where the package was going to be and that he picked the package up and placed it in his pocket. The trustee said he knew the package would contain chewing tobacco.
For attempted trafficking with an inmate, Kosciusko Circuit Court Judge Michael Reed sentenced Pierce to three years in the Kosciusko County Jail. Two years of the sentence was suspended on probation.
Pierce also has 107 days of jail time credit, plus good time credit as calculated.
Spriggs, the co-defendant in this case, has a pretrial conference on March 21.