Police admit that jailers failed to find all the drugs on a Marietta woman, leaving a cache of methamphetamine for staff at another detention center to discover.
Authorities say Joyce Marie Hawkins was found last week with pills in her private area during a search at the Smyrna jail, but a stash of meth in her bra was not found until she was searched again while being booked into the main Cobb County jail the next day.
A Smyrna police official called it an “oversight.”
Hawkins was booked into the Smyrna jail on drug charges the afternoon of May 11.
While searching her, a warrant says Smyrna jail staff found in her private area a clear jeweler's bag containing 3½ pills of Dextroamphetamine, which according to the federal government is habit-forming and can "cause serious heart problems or sudden death."
Deputy Chief of Smyrna police Robert Harvey told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that detention officers then removed the woman’s bra to look for more drugs and searched it by massaging the fabric. But the detention officer didn’t find the meth.
“This was an oversight on our part,” Harvey said. “We train and work diligently to vet each person coming into our facility. Consequently, meth can be quite easy to conceal due to its size and texture.”
When asked if Hawkins could have purchased the drugs inside the facility, Harvey said that wasn’t possible because Hawkins was in a holding cell and didn’t enter the jail’s general population.
Records show that about 12 hours later she was transferred to the main Cobb jail where detention officers found in her bra about 54½ grams of meth wrapped in a plastic bag during a strip search.
That amount — about as much as 18 sugar cubes — qualifies as enough for a drug trafficking charge. She was booked on drug possession charges.
She was first booked into Smyrna jail because police say they found a glass pipe with meth residue in a small purse, according to a warrant.
She was a passenger in a car stopped along Windy Hill Road just west of Atlanta Road, but the warrant does not say why the vehicle was originally stopped.
A week after the arrest, she remains in Cobb County jail without bond.
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