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10 arrested after drug smuggling investigations at Chippewa County Correctional Facility

Three investigations resulted in more charges for current prisoners, plus some additional arrests for family/friends who helped to smuggle drugs.
Arrest graphic.
Arrest graphic.(MGN)
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 11:39 AM EDT
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CHIPPEWA COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - Ten people are facing charges following drug smuggling investigations at the Chippewa County Correctional Facility in Sault Ste. Marie.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office said, “At the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office we not only serve the people of Chippewa County with our Law Enforcement duties but we also run the Chippewa County Correctional Facility. One of the many duties of the Corrections Staff, is maintaining safety and security, specifically preventing smuggling of contraband and narcotics.”

The sheriff’s office says that Corrections Officers and Detectives have been extra busy with smuggling investigations in recent months.

The sheriff’s office says that narcotics are often smuggled into the facility by those being arrested and those who carry the drugs internally. Other times friends or family, outside the facility, assist inmates by attempting to send in narcotics. Once the drugs are inside the facility the drugs are used and/or sold to other inmates. This causes a very high risk of overdose potentially.

Three investigations and arrests are highlighted below.

Investigation #1

The first investigation was involving methamphetamine being smuggled internally into the jail in August 2021.

29-year-old Weston LaCross is suspected to have internally smuggled Methamphetamine into the Correctional Facility.

LaCross sold Methamphetamine to other inmates. But due to the swift actions, Corrections Officers were able to seize the drugs while it was being passed to other inmates. LaCross is charged with:

  • Count 1 – Delivery of Methamphetamine
  • Count 2 – Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine
  • Count 3 – Inmate in Possession of Contraband
  • Habitual Offender
  • His bond was set at $250,000 with a tether.

Also charged was 32-year-old Michael Maclaren. His charges are:

    • Count 1 – Delivery of Methamphetamine
    • Count 2 – Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine
    • Count 3 – Inmate in Possession of Contraband
    • Habitual Offender
    • Maclaren’s bond is $10,000 with a tether.

37-year-old Timothy Hutchings, charged with Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine and is a Habitual Offender. His bond was set at $200,000 with a tether.

19-year-old Colby Harmon is charged with Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine. Bond was set at $200,000 with a tether.

19-year-old River McGrail, faces a charge of Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine. Bond was set at $100,000 with a tether.

37-year-old Bradley Franklin was charged with Conspiracy to Deliver Methamphetamine and is a Habitual Offendee. His bond was set at $10,000 with a tether.

Investigation #2

In this second investigation, Corrections Officers were seizing narcotics that were being sent by U.S. Mail to inmates within the facility. Corrections and sheriff’s office detectives conducted a joint smuggling investigation, which resulted in two arrests:

  • Timothy Alan Hutchings (No age provided)
    • Conspiracy to Deliver Suboxone
    • Conspiracy to Deliver contraband into correctional facility
  • 32-year-old Lauren Ashley Williams, of Sault Ste. Marie
    • Conspiracy to Deliver Suboxone
    • Furnish contraband to prisoner
    • Conspiracy to furnish contraband to prisoner

Investigation #3

In the third investigation, an inmate had a family member drop off an item for her at the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office. During inspection, narcotics were found. This investigation lead to the arrest of the family member and the inmate.

  • 28-year-old Harley McKerchie
    • Contraband, Prisoner
  • 46-year-old Victoria Jane Ruddell
    • Delivery of Suboxone
    • Furnishing contraband to prisoner
    • Conspiracy to deliver contraband to prisoner

The sheriff’s office reminds the public that all suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

The Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate additional smuggling cases. More information will be released as those investigations progress.

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