Normally fishing isn't a crime, but if you're behind bars and you're reeling in drugs instead of grouper, then you've crossed the line.
Three men have been charged with introduction of contraband into a county detention facility in a scheme that involved lowering a rope from a sixth-floor recreation yard at the Pinellas County Jail to a courtyard outside, where someone would tie a bag containing items that would be pulled back into the jail.
Members of the Detention Investigations Unit recently received a tip from inmates about the activity at the Pinellas County Jail Central Division, 14400 49th St. N., Clearwater, deputies said.
Detention Investigations deputies discovered a grocery-sized bag hanging from the fourth floor of the facility after a failed attempt on Monday. Inside the bag was approximately 29 grams of marijuana -- valued near $1,500 in the jail -- tobacco products, lighters and other miscellaneous items.
Charged in the scheme were inmates Mark Matthew "Red" Keating, 45, and Phillip William Henderson, 38, and civilian Eric Scott Snook, 41, of Pinellas Park.
Deputies are considering measures to prevent this activity from occurring again. A 6-foot chain-link fence has been erected in the courtyard outside the jail.
The investigation is continuing, and further charges and arrests are possible, deputies said.