‘A game of cat and mouse’: Lindsay jail inmates using drones and fentanyl soaked mail to smuggle in illicit drugs, inquest jury hears

A two-week inquiry will focus on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Steven Frenette, Daniel Foreman, David Bullen, Jonathan McConnell, and Susan Borja.

Central East Correctional Center (CECC) deputy superintendent Dan Tremblay says it is “a game of cat and mouse” when it comes to preventing illicit drugs from being smuggled into the Lindsay jail.

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, Tremblay tested on day two of an inquest exploring the circumstances around five overdose deaths at CECC between September 2018 and August 2019.

On day one of the inquiry, the jury heard that Steven Frenette, Daniel Foreman, David Bullen, Jonathan McConnell, and Susan Borga died while in custody at the maximum security jail.

According to an agreed statement of facts, autopsies confirmed that three inmates died from a deadly dose of fentanyl, another died from a lethal amount of carfentanil, and another died from the toxic effects of oxycodone and other drugs.

In his overview to the jury, inquest presiding officer Dr. Bob Reddoch said the probe will examine steps to prevent access to illicit drugs at CECC.

“The inmate population is very innovative, so everything that we do to combat it, they then try to figure a way around that system,” Tremblay explained to the jury.

Within the last six months, Tremblay said they’ve seen a real increase in the use of drones. Recently, he explained that one of the units started a fake medical incident to divert staff’s attention while a drone was attempting to drop a package in one other unit’s yards. He said staff were diligent and noticed something was wrong.

“We prevented it from entering from the yard into the facility,” he explained, adding they recovered several narcotics and a couple of weapons.

“We are installing a wire mesh above all our yards with center openings to make drone drops more difficult if not impossible.”

Tremblay added that one of the most popular ways right now to get illicit drugs in the facility is through the mail. He said inmates are getting mail sent in that is soaked in various narcotics, such as methamohetamine and fentanyl. As an example, Tremblay said one point, which is a one inch square of an eight and half by 11 sheet of paper, could go upwards to $100 per square.

“You can imagine the money that’s involved, It’s a high money business,” he explained.

Further, Tremblay tested that illicit drugs coming in through a body cavity has also been an ongoing problem.

Inmates entering the facility are required to go on a body scanner, but deadly opioids are brought in small amounts, making them difficult to discover.

“They’re moving on to different techniques, like using Ziploc bags that are wrapped in electrical tape and things like that just make it less condensed and less easily viewed on the scanner,” he explained.

The inquest continues Wednesday, Nov. 16.