Crime

Collinsville woman sneaks drugs into St. Clair County Jail — and it’s not the first time

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A Collinsville woman has been charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance after it was discovered she had fentanyl inside the St. Clair County Jail.

Olivia K. Miranda, 29, was arrested Jan. 30 on multiple outstanding felony warrants, Caseyville Police Officer Detective Danny Allison said. She had been the passenger in a car pulled over for a traffic stop.

Miranda was inside the jail for two days before the drugs were found on her on Feb. 1, Allison said.

According to a jail incident report obtained through an open records request to St. Clair County, a fellow inmate slipped a note to a corrections officer that said, “The new girl Miranda has contraband on her — drugs per say (sic). I am a recovering addict as many others in here & I don’t want to be anywhere near it. It’s in her bra right this moment.”

Officers then ordered Miranda to participate in a strip search, the report states. When asked whether she had any drugs on her, Miranda told the officers she did not. During the strip search, officers wrote in the report that Miranda pulled a plastic bag out of her bra and handed it to them. The bag contained four pill capsules, all of which were empty but had contained fentanyl, Miranda told them.

Miranda’s lawyer, public defender Andrew M. Liefer, declined to comment on the case.

Though St. Clair County Sheriff’s Deputy James Hendricks said the department could not comment on Miranda’s case specifically, he called it an “unfortunate incident.”

“We can have the best security, but there will still be times where people are able to circumvent the system,” he said. “We try our best to prevent this sort of thing from happening.”

People who are brought to the jail are searched twice by arresting officers before coming in, Hendricks said Tuesday. Then they’re searched at the jail’s sally port before going through a body scanner. Hendricks said the body scanner, which was installed last year, is there to provide an extra layer of security in place of strip searches.

“It’s a very valuable tool, but at the end of the day, it’s just a tool,” he said.

The Feb. 1 incident was not the first time Miranda had been caught with drugs inside St. Clair County Jail.

During an arrest last July, Miranda was being interviewed during booking when one officer alerted another that he thought Miranda had drugs on her body, an incident report from the jail states. When Miranda was brought in during that arrest, she refused to go through the jail’s scanner, claiming she was pregnant.

Officers conducted a pat down search before asking the jail nurse to come in and conduct a pregnancy test, the July 15 report states. When they told Miranda they had plans to strip search her, officers wrote that Miranda kept asking to use the bathroom before the search. Officers did not let her use the bathroom until the strip search was finished, the report states.

After a while, Miranda admitted to the officers that she had brought drugs in and pulled a silver keychain pill holder from her private area, the report states. When asked what was inside the holder, Miranda said, “I don’t know. I was holding it for him.” It is unclear from the report to whom she was referring.

When results from the pregnancy test came back negative, Miranda was interviewed about the contraband holder in an interview room and it was there that she told officers the vile had contained heroin, the report states.

The new unlawful possession charge will be added on to the previous charges for which Miranda was originally arrested, Allison said. She was still in the jail as of Tuesday morning.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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