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Inmate, mother charged with smuggling pills into Pinellas Jail staff

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A Pinellas County Jail inmate and her mother are facing felony charges for organizing a scheme to smuggle prescription pills into the jail, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

The inmate, 27-year-old Janelle Albertson, and her mother, 53-year-old Mary Ann Albertson, both from Clearwater, are each charged with one county of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a county detention center as well as actually carrying out the plan, deputies said.

The plan involved Mary Ann Albertson bringing the pills into the jail and hiding them in a public restroom, deputies said. There they were recovered by an inmate worker who would deliver them to Janelle Albertson, deputies said.

Deputies say Janelle Albertson was then selling or trading each pill for about $50 worth of items, such as commissary products, phone cards and a pair of Nike sneakers. Janelle Albertson was also taking the pills herself, deputies said.

There were at least two deliveries of pills between July 22 and 27, deputies said.

The pills, which included Cyclobenzaprine, Xanax, Soma and Dilaudid, were discovered by investigators on Thursday. Mary Ann Albertson was arrested at her Clearwater home later that day and taken to the Pinellas County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said.

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