Hamblen County Jail inmate Joseph Harris has been charged with introducing contraband into a penal institution in an alleged failed drug-drop scheme that began with making an offer a fellow inmate could not refuse, a deputy said this morning.
Harris, 26, wanted tobacco and Suboxone, and had allegedly enlisted the help of his girlfriend, Heather Fekeith, to help him, but what was lacking was someone to bring the plan from the drawing board to the playing field, according to Deputy Josh Marsee, jail investigator and field training officer.
The defendant, who is serving time for crystal-meth possession, allegedly imposed his will on inmate Kerry Strickland, and coerced him to pick up the contraband bundle outside the Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System emergency room, but Strickland would need a reason to be at the emergency room in the first place, according to Marsee.
Harris allegedly used a razor to cut Strickland’s lip, which produced a large amount of blood without causing great harm. Fekeith allegedly was staked out near the emergency room, and when the transport officer,
Deputy Aaron Sinkhorn, escorted Strickland inside, Fekeith allegedly placed the tobacco and Suboxone above the rear driver-side tire, according to Marsee.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Sinkhorn noticed when Strickland – instead of going directly into the caged rear seat – paused, reached into the fender well, grabbed the bundle and attempted to hide it while under close supervision.
Marsee said this morning he had not decided whether or not to charge Fekeith and Strickland, who is serving time for violation of probation.