St. Johns County inmates facing more time now after drug smuggling ring busted

A woman who was a month away from being released from jail on two St. Johns County misdemeanor charges is now facing felonies after being pegged as the mastermind of a drug smuggling ring inside the St. Johns County jail. Police say Hana Marie Colson, 29, was receiving strips of Suboxone that were hidden behind the stamps on envelopes sent to her in the mail, according to a report in the St. Augustine Record. Suboxone is a drug used to help people recovering from addiction to opiates such as heroin, Oxycontin and hydrocodone. The drug can be taken similar to Listerine strips, where a person places a small strip on his or her tongue and it dissolves. Now Colson has a hearing set for this week for violating the terms of her probation. She will likely be charged with introducing contraband into a detention facility, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and possession of contraband on the grounds of a detention facility, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Jail officials thought they noticed one female inmate who was under the influence of a drug and she failed a urine test, the newspaper reported. Further testing of other inmates found it was isolated to the female inmates in the jail, which is separated by gender, the newspaper reported. Twenty-two of them tested positive and, in interviews, several of the inmates said they got the drugs from Colson. So far, it appears that Colson simply gave the drug away and was not selling it inside the jail. That would open up an entirely new set of criminal problems for her. As for the woman who mailed the drugs, she’s also looking at a felony charge of introducing contraband into a correctional facility, on top of methamphetamines charges she was arrested on last week that stem from a September raid, the newspaper reported.

Over the years, our St. Johns County drug crimes Attorney has learned the quickest way to extend your time in jail – or to upgrade, so to speak, to a state prison – is to get in more trouble behind bars. Colson was a month from being released on charges of credit card fraud and drug possession. Now, not only does she face new charges, she faces the maximum penalty of one year on each of the two misdemeanors. She was originally sentenced to six months on each charge and was allowed to serve both sentences at the same time. Not only do more charges pop up if one gets into trouble in jail, it also makes the judge significantly less likely to cut the defendant a break the next time sentencing rolls around.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in St. Johns County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our St. Johns County Drug Crimes Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.