AUGUSTA (AP) – A Kennebec County inmate has pleaded guilty in a foiled plan to smuggle heroin into the jail on a string of dental floss dropped from a jail window.

The scheme was observed on July 8 by a tipster and recorded by jail cameras before officials broke it up.

Steven Chaput, 31, of Belgrade, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Superior Court to furnishing contraband to friends in jail. He was sentenced the same day to three years in jail, with all but 30 days suspended and two years’ probation. Chaput, who received credit for time served, was released.

An affidavit by a county sheriff’s deputy says dental floss weighted with a pencil was lowered from a window and an inmate signaled to Chaput to attach 2.5 grams of heroin to it.

Chaput disappeared behind brush while Jennifer Hawes, 22, of Gardiner, allegedly talked on her cell phone to an inmate, Benjamin Morrison, 27, of West Gardiner, who was using a jail phone.

After a caller reported seeing someone tie something to a piece of string, officers searched the jail and found a broken Plexiglas window. Police, who used a drug-detection dog, said 2.5 grams of heroin had been smuggled into the jail.

Chaput, Hawes, Morrison, and another inmate, Gregory Harriman, 38, of Lisbon, were charged with trafficking in prison contraband. Morrison is now at the Maine State Prison. Hawes is out on bail, and Harriman remains at the jail, the Kennebec Journal said.

Sheriff Randall Liberty said officials have seized all the dental floss in the jailhouse.

Chaput’s attorney, Mitchell Flick, said Chaput was coerced into getting the items for the inmates.


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