Sheriff: Inmates using roach poison to get high

The Polk County sheriff is warning of a dangerous new "drug" that's gaining popularity inside the jail system.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Sheriff Grady Judd said people are spraying roach poisons, like Raid and Roach Motel, onto paper and smuggling it into county jails. Those papers are then eaten or smoked by inmates as a dangerous way to get high.

"Who would think to do this?" asked Judd. "When the chemicals are infused on the paper, then they eat it or smoke it. Are you kidding me?"

Judd and his staff discovered the strange new method during a bust this week in the county. Nine people were arrested for using a similar method to smuggle K2 and synthetic amphetamines into one of the Polk County jails.

Judd said, in that case, family and friends of inmates were spraying the chemicals -- obtained by mail from China -- onto sheets of paper that looked like legal documents, letters from home, and even bible verses.

Deputies discovered those papers were being snuck into piles of legal documents when those families met with their attorneys, and the attorneys, who had no knowledge the chemicals were on the papers, would bring them into the jail.

"Here's a message to the other attorneys: the criminals inside are trying to take advantage of you," said Judd.

As a result of the bust, Judd said one local attorney has had their jail visitation privileges suspended for six months. Judd said the roach spray was not discovered on any of the papers in his jail, but the trend became apparent as deputies looked into the case.

"We've received information from sources in the jail that said, 'K2's cool, synthetic amphetamine's cool, but what we really like is the Raid!'" said Judd. "There's a nerve agent in this stuff and that's what they're using."

Judd said once the papers are inside the jail they're cut into squares and sold. Inmates then eat them to get high or find small pieces of metal to create electrical arcs that allow them to smoke the papers.

Judd said in the K2 case the papers were selling for about $75 per sheet. So he estimates, using the roach spray, someone could make about $1,500 off a single $4 can.

Judd said Polk County had an issue with similar drug smuggling in the jail back in 2016 when 13 inmates fell violently ill and one nearly died from ingesting drug soaked paper. Since then, the jail has switched to an electronic mailing system to eliminate most paper.

Now, Judd said with the recent case and findings, Polk County will ban all outside paper from the jail. He said attorneys' documents will have to be copied inside the jail and only the copies will go to inmates. Judd assured the media Tuesday though that his staff will guarantee confidentiality of those documents.