Six charged after minister busted smuggling drugs, tobacco into Whitley Co. jail

Gary Smiddy

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (WKYT) - Gary Smiddy came to the jail for a church service, police said. But not long after that, Smiddy would find himself behind bars.

"Tobacco's one thing," said Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird. "But narcotics inside a detention facility - that kind of steps it up a little bit."

Smiddy is accused of smuggling drugs, tobacco and other items into the Whitley County Detention Center last Thursday when he came to the jail purportedly to minister to inmates. Smiddy stashed the items inside his guitar case, investigators said.

Deputy jailers busted the operation when they searched an inmate - Smiddy's son, who is also named Gary - after the church service ended, police said.

The stash of contraband included e-cigarettes, batteries for the e-cigarettes, liquids used in e-cigarettes, balloons of smokeless tobacco, a bag of smoking tobacco, a bag of marijuana, two baggies of "ice" (crystal methamphetamine) and several Suboxone pills, Chief Bird said.

"After reviewing the videotapes, we learned that during the church service, that the son retrieved the items from the father's guitar case," Chief Bird said.

As investigators dug further, listening to recorded phone calls from the jail, they uncovered several others also involved in the operation.

In addition to charging both father and son, police say they also charged the older Smiddy's wife, Peggy, and their other son, Joshua. They also charged the younger Smiddy's wife, Melissa, and another inmate, James Goins.

All six face charges for promoting contraband (first and second degree), trafficking in marijuana and trafficking in a controlled substance (first degree).

Investigators believe Smiddy smuggled items into the jail at least two times before, so this time they were ready when he tried it again.

"Don't try to smuggle something into the jail," Chief Bird said. "Because if you do - it's a pretty serious offense - you may be in here with the person you're trying to smuggle it in to."

Jailer Brad Lawson told WKYT's Garrett Wymer that the jail hosts faith-based services six nights each week, led by different groups and churches. Lawson said he will not let what happened last week spoil the services for everybody - they will just continue to keep an eye on everyone who comes inside the jail.

Chief Bird said the investigation is still ongoing, as investigators continue to go through more recorded calls from the jail. He said he expects more people to be charged.



 
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