Local Attorney Accused Of Smuggling Drugs Into Allegheny County Jail

Dec 13, 2019

A grand jury alleges that inmates housed at the Allegheny County Jail enlisted lawyers’ help in a drug smuggling operation. In a report eleased by the county district attorney’s office Friday, the grand jury recounted five incidents in which inmates coordinated with people outside the jail to arrange deliveries of synthetic cannabinoids.

The panel did not identify the accused actors, but according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, other court records show that Butler County lawyer Paul Gettleman has been charged. The newspaper also reports charges were filed against Jermaine Dehonney, 24, of Turtle Creek; Cheron Shelton, 32, of Lincoln-Lemington; Tabitha Johnson, 43, of Penn Hills; Brittney Shelton, 28, of Pittsburgh; and Tyerra Taylor, 20, of West Mifflin.

According to the grand jury report, inmates’ significant others, friends and family members would ask or even pay attorneys to bring legal papers coated in synthetic cannabinoids, also known as K2, deuce, and spice, into the jail.

The invisible and odorless substance is believed to have sickened dozens of Pennsylvania prison employees during a single month in 2018.

The report notes the alleged scheme at the Allegheny County Jail exploited rules that only allow attorneys to bring items beyond the jail’s visitor lobby.

The grand jury cited phone calls where inmates allegedly plotted to have lawyers bring “papers” into the jail. Some attorneys testified to the grand jury that they did not know that documents they had been asked to deliver to inmates contained drugs.