Inmate uses code for prison drug smuggling

From - by Chris McKee - A New Mexico prison inmate thought he was being sneaky having phone conversations about shirt colors and cutting the grass that corrections officials say was really code for trying to get drugs into prison. Now one man that was free is locked up.
     New Mexico Corrections Department officers listened to the phone conversations of three people for about a week in June. In the recordings, a man and woman were heard getting orders from an inmate who apparently was not ready to give up his criminal ways.
     “Our agents have to stay one step ahead of this at all times and they really have done a fabulous job of that,” said Alex Tomlin, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Corrections Department.
     The recent incident that tested officers happened at the Central New Mexico Corrections Facility in Los Lunas, involving a man named Reynaldo Vargas. Vargas is an inmate there doing time for drug possession, assault, escape and trafficking charges.  Vargas is accused of trying to get his friends to sneak drugs in through a letter. Corrections officers discovered it while sweeping the mail with a drug detecting K9 which picked up on the scent of a drug called “Suboxone.”
     “Suboxone is unique because it is not illegal out in the free world, it's a prescription you can go get,” said Tomlin. But in prison, Suboxone is illegal. The drug mimics the effects of heroin and typically used to help wean people off of narcotic addiction.
     Once corrections officers found the drug, they looked into how the inmates tried to get it in. “They went back and listened to some phone messages, they did some investigative work, they called in state police,” said Tomlin. Read more