Three charged in plan to smuggle drug into Pinellas jail

A 29-year-old Trinity woman was arrested Monday, accused of concealing a drug in letters to two Pinellas County Jail inmates who then sold the substance to other inmates.

Kaitlyn Pergola, 10543 Portofino Circle, was charged with two counts of introduction of contraband into a county detention facility. She also faces a charge of violation of probation on a previous drug charge.

Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies also charged 30-year-old David Michael Gavin, Pergola’s boyfriend, who was getting the letters in the Pinellas County Jail and his cellmate, Jermonte Russell Rushing, 30, both of whom were charged with the same offense.

Detention deputies say Pergola concealed suboxone, a drug intended to treat addictions to opiates such as heroin but is often abused, in strips behind stamps on envelopes she mailed to Gavin and Rushing, who in turn sold the substance to other inmates.

The investigation began on Aug. 1, when deputies became suspicious after Gavin continually asked corrections deputies and jail employees for his mail as he was about to be transferred to the Jefferson County jail.

Since then, 11 pieces of mail containing the opiate was confiscated.

The envelopes had a false return address, deputies said, but they could see the letters to Gavin and Rushing were written by the same person.

Deputies found four small square pieces of orange paper concealed behind each stamp. Tests revealed the substance on the strips was suboxone, or “heroin in a breath strip,” deputies said.

Investigators said that Gavin recruited Rushing to have some of the mail sent to him and that the two sold the contraband to other inmates at the Pinellas County Jail. Each stamp sold for $20; and that each stamp was five dosage units if cut into five individual strips.

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