An Owensboro woman was charged with felony promoting contraband after attempting to smuggle synthetic marijuana into the Daviess County Detention Center in a pair of shoes.

Jailer Art Maglinger said Shana N. Worten, 28, of the 800 block of Hall Street, was charged Monday after a jail investigation found Worthen had brought shoes for an inmate into the detention center with synthetic marijuana sewn into the tongues.

Shoes from outside are allowed if an inmate is on a work crew, Maglinger said. Otherwise, inmates wear slippers.

"Not every inmate is allowed shoes," Maglinger said. "In this case, it was someone bringing shoes for an inmate worker."

Maglinger said Worthen brought in the shoes on Feb. 27. The next day, jail officials received information that drugs were hidden inside them.

Maglinger said shoes brought in for inmates are regularly inspected. The shoes hadn't been issued to the inmate, and were inspected by Major Jack Jones, the jail's chief deputy, who found synthetic marijuana sewn into the tongues of both shoes.

"He cut them open and found Spice in both of them," Maglinger said.

Surveillance footage showed Worthen bringing in the shoes. Maglinger called Worthen and she admitted putting the synthetic marijuana into the shoes, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Worthen was charged with first-degree promoting contraband and tampering with physical evidence, which are both class D felonies. Worthen was being held Wednesday in the Daviess County Detention Center.

The inmate for whom the shoes were intended has not been charged. Maglinger said jail staff believes as many as three inmates could be involved.

"I continue to be impressed by the jail deputies," Maglinger said. "They continue to be pretty thorough. I applaud Major Jones for finding it."

Maglinger said the jail does not plan to ban outside shoes for jail workers, but, "it still causes us to be more cautious."

"We are taking it case by case, because we recognized inmates do need them," Maglinger said. "... We are trying to not come up with a knee-jerk reaction, like banning all shoes. I won't officially change the policy."

Maglinger said it's not usual for people to "try to beat the system" and get drugs into the jail.

"This time, they got caught," he said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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