Another inmate allegedly found hiding drugs

Joanna Gearhart; photo courtesy of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Dept.

A Bartholomew County Jail inmate is facing charges after allegedly trying to hide contraband. On Friday, the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team and Bartholomew County Jail Officers suspected that 34-year-old Joanna Gearhart, of Columbus, was using a body cavity to conceal illegal narcotics while incarcerated.

A search warrant was obtained for Gearhart’s person. Investigators reported finding multiple narcotic related items including Methamphetamine, Suboxone and Marijuana.

Gearhart is facing new preliminary charges of Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Controlled Substance and Trafficking with an Inmate.

This is the latest in the jail’s efforts to fight drugs and other contraband entering the jail. Officers received a tip days before that another inmate was going to try to smuggle drugs into the jail after she was sentenced. Authorities obtained a search warrant and she was taken to Columbus Regional Hospital for a search. That search revealed the inmate had hidden two and a half grams of heroin, Suboxone pills, two other, unidentified pills and two unopened packs of cigarettes.

On Thursday, jail staff searched all of the cells in the county jail. That ended with the discovery of a small amount of methamphetamine. That case remains under investigation.

“We are serious about stopping the flow of drugs comings into the jail,” Chief Deputy Chris Lane said. “The Joint Narcotics Team along with Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office detectives continue to receive intelligence on a daily basis regarding illegal activity in our jail, and we will continue to address this problem until it ends.”