VERNAL — Five women are facing felony charges after one of them allegedly smuggled drugs into the Uintah County Jail and then passed them out to the other four.

According to a probable cause statement, jail deputies received a note from an inmate on May 3 indicating that "the new girl" had brought meth into the facility. The anonymous note said that the drugs were concealed in one of the jail's housing units and in a holding cell in the booking area.

Deputies conducted searches of the female inmates in the housing unit, based on the note, and questioned them about the presence of drugs in the facility. Court records show that several inmates identified 19-year-old Shauna Carey as the woman who brought 3 grams of meth into the jail.

During the interviews, deputies said they were able to identify four other women who had received meth from Carey. They also said they learned that Carey had hidden meth inside a mattress in a booking cell.

A search of the housing unit by a Vernal police dog turned up evidence of suspected meth in two cells. One jail deputy also reported finding three small plastic bags concealed in a piece of cloth on a table in the cell block's common room — one containing about a gram of suspected meth, the others containing only residue.

Drug tests were conducted on all of the women in the housing unit, and deputies said 44-year-old Alisia Mecham; 40-year-old Tamra Boyles; 26-year-old Theresa Gilbert; and 22-year-old Valerie Hatch all tested positive for meth. The women had been incarcerated long enough that there should not have been drugs in their systems, authorities said.

Carey also tested positive for meth but had recently been booked into the jail. She is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession or use of drug paraphernalia, in addition to the charges for which she was initially arrested.

Boyles is charged with possession of a controlled substance within a correctional facility, while Mecham, Gilbert and Hatch each face one count of illegal possession or use of a controlled substance.

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