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Inmates accused of meth smuggling scheme

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Ten people, including five female jail inmates, are accused of being involved in a scheme to distribute methamphetamine inside San Mateo County’s Maple Street Correctional Center, sheriff’s deputies said Thursday.

After a month-long investigation, investigators with the San Mateo County Narcotics Task Force and the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division determined that the suspects were sending and receiving mail laced with methamphetamine.

The investigation began when corrections staff intercepted numerous letters and cards that had allegedly been dipped in liquefied meth and sent to a number of female inmates at the Maple Street jail.

Investigators believe the suspects hoped that by dipping the paper in meth and mailing it to the jail, the crimes would go unnoticed, according to sheriff’s officials.

On Dec. 22, Narcotics Task Force members served search warrants in Burlingame, Daly City and San Francisco, which resulted in the seizure of more than 10 ounces meth and several thousand dollars in drugs money, according to sheriff’s officials.

During the Burlingame warrant search, officers arrested Daly City resident Richard Wood, 54, on suspicion of possession and sales of a controlled substance, transporting a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and bringing drugs into a correctional facility. His bail was set at $700,000, sheriff’s officials said.

Additionally, five female inmates were re-arrested on suspicion of attempting to bring drugs into a correctional facility, attempted possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy. They were identified as San Francisco residents Rhiannon Lawler, 37, and Sara Regan, 34; San Mateo resident Shelby Myers, 26; East Palo resident Peweli Pinkston, 27; and Jean Stoller, 36, of Pacifica.

Furthermore, four suspects in the case remain outstanding and are being sought by deputies. They’ve been identified as San Francisco residents Ephraim Manlapaz, 44, and Nancy Sanchez, 32; Pacifica resident Agnes Banquerifo-Taylor, 47; and Bridgette Chavis-Damon, 38, of Redwood City.

“This case highlights the ongoing commitment of the Sheriff’s Office to running safe correctional facilities. We will continue to investigate and take action on any criminal activity that endangers the safety of our staff or the safety of the inmates in our custody,” Capt. Paul Kunkel of the Maple Street Correctional Center said in a statement.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Special Agent Rich Daly at (650) 573-3991 or at rdaly@smcgov.org Tipsters who wish to remain anonymous can call the sheriff’s anonymous tip line at (800) 547-2700.

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