RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (PIX11) — Five people were indicted Thursday, accused of a conspiracy to smuggle fentanyl into the Suffolk County Correctional Facility by spraying a liquid form of the opioid onto fake legal papers.
“These four sheets of paper were going to be smuggled into the correctional facility through an unsuspecting attorney, who thought he was only delivering legal papers into the jail,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney at a press conference.
Tierney revealed the fentanyl-infused sheets are worth up to $6,000 apiece inside a jail.
The county sheriff, Dr. Errol Toulon, Jr., told reporters his newly established Corrections Intelligence Center gleaned information about the plot.
“Make no mistake,” Toulon said, “Fentanyl is 20 times more of value inside the jail or prison than it is on the street.”
Tierney said an inmate’s girlfriend, Janiah Williams, helped facilitate the plot by making plans to deliver four papers to another inmate’s attorney at the Arthur Cromarty Courthouse, which is near the jail in Riverhead.
“After her arrest, Williams stated she paid $1,400 for four pieces of paper,” Tierney said “They can be sold for as much as $6,000 a page inside the jail.”
Tierney added the sheets are often ripped into smaller sizes to increase profit.
“We learned that a torn piece of paper as little as a credit card that is infused with fentanyl can go for as much as $500 a piece,” Tierney said. “Inmates put the paper laced with fentanyl into their mouths.”
The district attorney said inmate Jyzir Hamilton orchestrated the plot and placed a series of calls to Alyssa Brienza, who allegedly had a contact, Arnold Foster, who was serving time inside Green Haven Correctional Facility in Stormville, New York. Foster allegedly set the price of the four fentanyl sheets to be sold to Hamilton, who wanted to receive them inside the Suffolk County Correctional Facility.
A third inmate, Eric Freeman, was dragged into the plot, according to the district attorney.
Freeman, who is a registered sex offender, allegedly told his unsuspecting attorney that Williams would be delivering legal papers to him at the Cromarty courthouse. Freeman was hoping to get the papers from his attorney during a jailhouse visit.
But the plan was thwarted when Williams was arrested after the alleged transfer of phony legal papers inside the courthouse. Williams had initially bought four papers from Brienza that were laced with fentanyl, according to DA Tierney.
“Brienza delivered four blank pages to the girlfriend, Janiah Williams, which were sprayed with a liquid which contained the fentanyl,” Tierney said. “Legal writing was then superimposed on top of the fentanyl-laced paperwork.”
Tierney said the bail laws need to be strengthened because the two women were not charged with offenses that are not considered “bail eligible.”