New mail scanners in Nueces County jail help fight the entrance of fentanyl
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New mail scanners in Nueces County jail help fight the entrance of fentanyl

Oct 28, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over the last few months Nueces County Sheriff's officials said fentanyl has been making its way into the county jail through the mail.

But now the jail has a new security system that scans all inmates mail

The new system has been in operation for about three months now.

Nueces County Sheriff J.C. Hooper says the county has been fighting to keep controlled substances out of the jail for quite some time.

"The fentanyl issue really magnified it. It takes very little fentanyl to create a dangerous situation in our jail." Hooper said.

Hooper says some drugs were distributed in liquid form and placed onto paper.

The paper was then sent as a letter and mailed to inmates inside the jail, inmates would then eat that paper or even smoke it.

"Before we got these mil scanners it was pretty much a visual inspection, to look for any stains or any type of protrusion where something might be inserted between layers of paper. and then it was tested with a chemical testing kit." Hooper said.

Hooper says scanning the mail with these test kits was an expensive process, but since fentanyl can be a dangerous substance, it's been worth it.

The jail invested over $300,000 for two mail scanners one located at the annex and the other at the county jail, and now all mail goes trough these scanners.

Hooper says when the Nueces County Jail first the mail scanner they were getting 30 to 40 positive detentions a day now, and now they are getting half of that.

"Well if it saves one life right, if you have one overdose inside our jail, and someone dies, that is going to be a significant liability." Hooper said.

Hooper says this new technique has not only kept the facility and inmates safe, but also the jail workers.

"If the come in contact with fentanyl that is on a piece of paper, it can be a dangerous situation for them too so yes it's to keep the inmates safe but it is also to keep our employees safe." Hooper said.

If any mail is detected with drugs, it is then sent to the criminal investigation department, and will be destroyed.

But inmates will still be able to receive a photo copy of that mail.

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