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12 arrested for allegedly smuggling narcotics into Larimer County Jail through mail

Larimer County Sheriff's Office vehicle
Posted at 4:27 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-31 18:27:55-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Twelve people were arrested for allegedly smuggling narcotics into the Larimer County Jail through the mail, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday.

At the end of 2021, jail staff noticed an increase in narcotics being introduced into the jail that were not being detected by usual methods. Deputies began investigating and discovered suspicious activity involving an inmate's incoming mail, phone calls and text messages via the inmate communications system (tablet), the sheriff's office said.

A deputy discovered coded language about narcotics, how to send them to inmates in the jail and how inmates would pay those on the outside for the narcotics, according to the sheriff's office.

In March 2022, a letter mailed to an inmate was intercepted. The paper tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine, according to the sheriff's office.

Jail staff contacted the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force (NDTF) in April, and authorities initiated "Operation Arts and Crafts."

During the investigation, fentanyl, methamphetamine and Suboxone strips were found in mail sent to various inmates, according to the sheriff's office. In order to sneak narcotics into the jail, those on the outside would soak paper in narcotics, infuse narcotics into the ink and hide narcotics in the seams of envelops, the sheriff's office said.

A search warrant was obtained for a home in the 400 block of East 57th Street in unincorporated Larimer County and executed on May 27.

The following inmates were arrested in connection to the operation:

  • Brian Scott Willert, 45 – two counts of 2nd degree introduction of contraband, two counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and conspiracy to commit money laundering
  • Shawn Adolf Chapman, 47 – 2nd degree conspiracy to introduce contraband, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • Tappan Daniel Smith, 38 – 2nd degree introduction of contraband and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • Jaime Omar Rodriguez, 28 – 2nd degree conspiracy to introduce contraband, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • Jose Guadalupe Barraza 24 – 2nd degree introduction of contraband and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • Stephen Darwin McNeil, 21 – 2nd degree conspiracy to introduce contraband
  • Joshua Edward Puls, 38 – 2nd degree introduction of contraband, two counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and conspiracy to commit money laundering
  • Edward Joseph Bergenske, 21 – 2nd degree introduction of contraband
  • Kenneth K. George, 37 – possession of contraband

The following people were arrested for allegedly participating in the operation from outside the jail:

  • Kathy Ann Rains-Wilson, 49, of Loveland – two counts of 2nd degree introduction of contraband, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance
  • Josephine Hannah Haggard, 21, of Fort Collins – 2nd degree introduction of contraband, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and criminal impersonation
  • Alexa Ann Coria, 28, of Fort Collins – 2nd degree conspiracy to introduce contraband, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance

The sheriff's office says there are multiple other individuals with outstanding warrants in connection to this case that have not yet been arrested.

“I believe the result of this investigation and the new charges incurred by those involved will deter future attempts to traffic narcotics in the jail," said Captain Bobby Moll, Larimer County Jail division commander. "Our jail deputies and the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force did an outstanding job to dismantle this drug trafficking organization and I am very proud of all their work.”

Beginning June 1, all personal inmate mail, including letters, pictures and drawings, will be digitally scanned and delivered to inmates via tablets, according to the sheriff's office.