Meth-by-mail operation uncovered at Yuba County Jail
Two people were arrested Wednesday after authorities uncovered an elaborate methamphetamine-smuggling operation in the Yuba County Jail.
"It was a pretty sneaky operation," said Martin Horan, commander of the Yuba-Sutter NET-5 Task Force.
The meth-by-mail operation involved letters and postcards that were soaked in liquid methamphetamine and mailed into the jail after they dried.
"They would reapply water in the jail and use the crank that way," Horan said.
Inmates could either drink or inject the liquid, he said.
Dewayne Lee Nelson had been receiving the meth-laced letter from his wife, Janice Grimmett, who lives in Yuba City.
An alert jail employee spotted suspicious-looking letters in mid-April and investigators began intercepting Nelson's correspondence and monitoring his phone calls, Horan said.
Horan said the postcards all had an unnatural "shine" that made them stand out to jail staff.
Grimmett, 48, was arrested about 7 a.m. Wednesday at her home in the 1000 block of Courtyard Way.
Three of Grimmett's roommates were also arrested during the warrant search, but it was not clear if they were involved in the mail scheme.
James Quinn and Joris Lebhart were cited for possession of drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors.
Cathy Hall, 45, was arrested on suspicion of controlled substance possession.
Grimmett and Hall were booked into the Sutter County Jail, authorities said. They weren't in custody Wednesday night, according to the jail's website.
Hall was still in custody Wednesday afternoon in lieu of $15,000 bail. Grimmett was not listed as an inmate.
Nelson, 36, was arrested in December after a two-hour standoff with sheriff's deputies at the Yuba River.
Deputies said Nelson kidnapped a man Dec. 27 and tried to force the man to drive a getaway vehicle at gunpoint. Nelson was never charged with kidnapping, but was held to answer on assault charges.
Coincidentally, Nelson pleaded "no contest" on Wednesday in connection with the assault case, shortly after his drug-related arrest, the Yuba County District Attorney's Office said.
Nelson admitted to assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.
However, due to an undisclosed medical issue, Nelson was released from the county jail shortly after his court appearance.
Horan said it is common for inmates to be released from custody to attend serious medical issues to save taxpayers the cost of their treatment.
Nelson is due back in court July 9 for sentencing on the assault case.
Yuba County sheriff's Lt. Damon Gil said drug smuggling attempts are something that all correctional institutions deal with, but said he couldn't remember another scheme at the Yuba County Jail as elaborate as the one busted Wednesday.
Some Yuba County meth users have been linked to similar smuggling operations before.
Five members of Yuba County white supremacist gang were arrested in February 2011 for secretly transporting heroin from Yuba City into the Susanville State Prison. In that case, authorities said heroin came into the prison on the envelope glue-strips.
Ten days after the arrest, Yuba County District Attorney Pat McGrath said no charges had been filed. It's unknown if any charges were filed.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.