A Mastic Beach woman visiting the Suffolk County jail wound up locked up herself after sheriffs said she was caught trying to smuggle drugs to an inmate.
Investigators from the Yaphank Correctional Facility's internal security section had been tipped off about Katherine Riddick's visit to a man held on burglary charges and confronted her just before 7 p.m. Wednesday in the visiting room, authorities said.
"She basically gave it up," said Michael Sharkey, chief of staff for Sheriff Vincent DeMarco. "She was carrying the drugs in a balloon in her mouth."
Inside the balloon were four small packages of heroin and four strips of suboxone, used to fight opioid addiction, he said.
Visitors and inmates are allowed to have contact in the visiting room -- it's state law -- but they are separated by a partition that's about 18 inches high, Sharkey said.
"They are allowed to kiss and embrace," Sharkey said Thursday. "You do that, you pass the balloon and the inmate swallows it, and he uses it at a later time."
When Riddick, 30, was fingerprinted, the sheriffs found she had used her sister's name and Florida driver's license, Sharkey said. The two women looked similar, he said.
Riddick was charged with several felonies: three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, two of promoting prison contraband and forgery. She was also charged with misdemeanor false personation and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Her arraignment was scheduled for Friday.
"Bottom line," DeMarco said in a statement, "don't bring drugs to jail or you won't be leaving."