In one of the “craziest cases” involving inmates in the Letcher County Jail, three women have been indicted on charges of complicity to promoting contraband in the jail.
The Letcher County Grand Jury says Brittany Lasean Looney, 24, 850 Mountain Breeze Apts. #327, Jenkins; Erica L. Blair, 34, also known as Erica Inez Blair, 406 Carrion Branch, Whitesburg, and Joni Rachelle Miracle, 42, 109 Circle Drive, Whitesburg, introduced dangerous contraband into the Letcher County Jail on May 22.
Miracle is also charged with being a persistent felony offender.
Events leading up to the indictments began when Looney was arrested in the Wendy’s restaurant parking lot in Whitesburg at 1:50 a.m. on May 22 and charged with public intoxication and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Whitesburg Police Officer Johnathan Newsome made the arrest after responding to a complaint about a female who had possibly overdosed on drugs. Newsome wrote in an arrest citation that Looney appeared to be passed out in the passenger’s side of a vehicle. Looney told police she had ingested the anti-anxiety drug Valium, according to the citation. She had also used a needle containing a small, unknown red liquid, the citation said.
Letcher County Jailer Don McCall said Looney was stripsearched at the jail and no pills were found, after which she was placed in a cell with Blair and Miracle. McCall said a jail employee monitoring the cell through an intercom system heard one of the women talking about Valium and heard what sounded like someone snorting something.
Jail employees then called an ambulance for Miracle, who was transported to the Whitesburg hospital, where an initial x-ray showed a pill bottle in Miracle’s stomach. McCall said a second x-ray was taken a short time later, but the pill bottle was no longer viewable. McCall said Miracle apparently regurgitated the pill bottle, which had Looney’s name on the label, and consumed some of the pills.
After the pill bottle was recovered from Miracle, authorities recovered from it and the jail cell 73 blue pills believed to be the antianxiety drug Xanax, four green pills broken in half that were also believed to be Xanax, two white pills believed to be Xanax, and 28 Subutex tablets. Subutex is a drug prescribed to recovering narcotics addicts. A razor blade was also found in the jail cell.
“This is the craziest case we have had,” said McCall.
Two other Letcher County residents are also named in indictments handed up by the grand jury.
• Byron Ellis Bentley, 32, 124 Brickyard Hill, Jenkins, is accused of escape and being a persistent felony offender. He is charged with escaping from the Letcher County Jail on July 7.
Jenkins Police Chief T. Allen Bormes testified in the case.
• Kimberly M. Brewer, 44, 126 Wright Hollow, Jenkins, is charged with bail jumping for failing to appear for a preliminary hearing on May 17 in Letcher District Court in connection with a felony charge.
Deputy Letcher Circuit Court Clerk Sandra Wright testified in the case.
Brewer was originally charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance (drug unspecified) on April 29 by then- Jenkins City Police officer Adam Swindall.