BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Five people are in custody for their involvement in smuggling drugs into the Blair County prison by “ordering food” that was allegedly being dropped off for a CO.
The Hollidaysburg Police Department released a statement that said 35-year-old inmate Ryan Bare, 30-year-old inmate Jesse Riggleman, 46-year-old Shellie Forshey, 57-year-old Constance Martinez and 31-year-old Mara Mingle are all facing charges.
The investigation began when police said they were called to the prison Jan. 26 for found contraband, according to the criminal complaint.
One of the corrections officers reported to police that there were two styrofoam clamshell containers with salads that had been in the staff fridge for a few days, so she took one of them to eat. However, when she went to eat it, she said she couldn’t get the fork the whole way through.
She lifted up the lettuce, and she noticed a zip-lock bag rolled with a dark substance in it that smelled like tobacco. She found a second that she believes contained chewing tobacco. A third bag contained various contraband.
Investigators determined that two of the sandwich bags contained chewing tobacco, two unused capped hypodermic needs, five unopened packs of suboxone strips and two orange pills of suspected suboxone.
The third bad contained a rock-like substance, that lab tests confirmed to meth, and three green wax packets with white powder in them. It also contained a sexually explicit note.
A woman, later identified as Forshey, had dropped off the bag of food containing the drugs Jan. 22, saying it was ordered by one of the corrections officers. The bag was eventually placed in the refrigerator.
Interviews with different corrections officers revealed that the CO who the food was alleged to be ordered by was supposedly allowing inmate Bare to order food and would bring it back to the block for him.
However, the CO reported to police that during this instance, Bare had offered to buy her food if she would bring it to the block, but she told him no. He told her his mom had already ordered it for them before she told him no. The CO refused to bring the food to him, which is why the salads sat in the fridge.
An inmate came forward and told police he knew of two instances where drugs had been smuggled into the prison. It turns out he was in a relationship with Forshey before he went to prison Jan. 18, and she allegedly told him she delivered the drugs for a female inmate she knew. He reported that she said she ordered a chef salad and put suboxone and tobacco in the bottom of the container and covered it with lettuce, and she got paid $200 to $300 to do it.
Once the inmate was booked into the prison, this is where he learned Forshey was doing it for Bare and not a female inmate.
He told police the second drop-off occurred just a few days before police began their investigation, and he told them that Bare extensively used the prison phones to contact Forshey to coordinate the drop-offs.
He also told police that another inmate, Riggleman, had his girlfriend, Mingle, supply the meth.
Police began listening to phone calls involving Bare and Riggleman.
Bare had in fact been in communication with Forshey to bring drugs into the prison, and his mother, Martinez, would supply some of the drugs as well, according to the phone call investigation.
The calls between Riggleman also proved that Mingle was supplying the some of the drugs that were to be delivered by Forshey. Furthermore, investigators were able to obtain text messages between Riggleman and Mingle that were sexually explicit in nature, similar to the note found with the bag of meth.
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Martinez was lodged in Blair County Prison Tuesday after failing to post the $50,000 cash bail set by Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner, and Forshey was arraigned Wednesday and jailed in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. Both have preliminary hearings scheduled for April 6.
Bare and Riggleman were arraigned Thursday with bail set for each at $75,000 cash. Their preliminary hearings are slated for April 13.
Mingle was arraigned this morning, March 26. Her bail is $50,000 cash, and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 6.