FINDLEY TOWNSHIP — A Monroeville woman is accused of smuggling drugs to an inmate at State Correctional Institution-Mercer.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections charged Amira Jacqueli Thompson, 20, March 1 for the Aug. 8 incident at the Findley Township prison.

The DOC reported that an inmate named Brandon Thompson called his niece, Ms. Thompson, on Aug. 2 to ask if she still had a phone number for a woman who sent her the “80,” according to the criminal complaint.

Thompson said that both women were to meet Aug. 7 to “put the shoes in the box” and discuss “how to get to Jersey.”

Those phrases are commonly used to refer to Suboxone and the packaging of a controlled substance; “Jersey” in a reference to the prison, investigators said.

The two had several more phone calls, including one where Ms. Thompson said she was unable to reach the other woman, who was supposed to show her how to package the box, so she did it herself.

Ms. Thompson visited Thompson on Aug. 8. They were seen on camera sitting hunched over when she leaned forward and pulled a small orange package from her waistband, then quickly put it back.

Thompson touched her hair and her back and could be seen putting his hand up to his mouth for about a minute, then trying to swallow something for about 40 seconds.

He stuck his tongue out and continued talking to Ms. Thompson while looking around.

The corrections officers suspected that he swallowed something and notified the security office. A body scanner showed a foreign object in his upper stomach.

Thompson said he had swallowed a balloon containing Suboxone. It was later examined and found to have 27 strips of the drug, which is commonly used to treat opioid addiction.

Thompson called Ms. Thompson on Sept. 10 to let her know she’d been removed from his visitor list and that someone had told on them, but that she wasn’t in trouble.

Thompson told investigators on Sept. 28 that he manipulated Ms. Thompson into bringing the drugs and that he’d pay her $3,000 to do it.

He called her again to say he had been questioned, and that he told them he forced her to do it. He also told her it was his fault, according to the criminal complaint.

Ms. Thompson told investigators on Sept. 30 that he offered to pay her for picking up some packages for him.

She met with a woman in July in Swissvale, Pa., and gave her a box. The woman was later identified as the girlfriend of another inmate at the state prison.

Ms. Thompson and the woman exchanged multiple text messages that referred to shoes and boxes.

She is charged with conspiring to bring contraband/controlled substance, conspiring for an inmate to possess a controlled substance/contraband, manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, conspiring to manufacture, deliver or possess with intent to manufacture or deliver, criminal use of a communication facility and two counts each of possession of a controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Daniel W. Davis, Mercer, and is free on bond.

Her preliminary hearing with Davis is set for 1:30 p.m. March 23.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Suspects are to be considered innocent until proven or adjudicated guilty in court.

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