Woman accused of plotting to smuggle drugs into Valley prison

Feb 8, 2024, 1:03 PM

PHOENIX — A woman was arrested Sunday for allegedly plotting to smuggle drugs into a Valley prison, authorities said.

Leticia Verney, 41, was booked into jail Monday on conspiracy charges, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said.

Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry arrested Verney after receiving recordings of her plans to bring drugs into the Arizona State Prison Complex – Lewis in Buckeye, MCSO said.

Here’s how a K-9 aided in the Valley prison drug bust

She was then taken to MCSO’s Intake, Transfer and Release jail, where a drug-sniffing dog named Bear alerted authorities to a package on her person.

Verney was placed on the search wall, where a package filled with drugs was found, MCSO said.

It included 1 ounce of heroin, 1 ounce of methamphetamine, 200 fentanyl pills and 7 grams of marijuana.

“This quantity and classification of narcotics is worth thousands of dollar on the streets, and potentially tens of thousands of dollars in a custody setting,” chief Deputy Russ Skinner said in a press release.

“Without the K-9 alert, there would have been a great possibility that these drugs would have made it into our jails, impacting the safety of the inmates and our staff in potentially deadly ways.”

How dogs are used to help with contraband in Phoenix jails

The drug bust and arrest come about four months after body scanners and four drug-detection dogs were brought into MCSO to deter contraband in Phoenix jails.

The K-9s were deployed to detect drugs within jail cells, but they are not routinely used to search inmates during the booking process.

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Woman accused of plotting to smuggle drugs into Valley prison