DECATUR — A prisoner who sparked a medical emergency at the Macon County Jail with smuggled drugs was sentenced Friday to five years in prison.

Romell D. Hill, 35, appeared in Macon County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to a single count of bringing contraband, ranging from heroin to methamphetamine, into a penal institution, a Class 1 felony. As part of a plea deal negotiated by his public defender, Scott Rueter, 17 other drug smuggling and possession charges were dismissed.

A sworn affidavit from corrections Sgt. Roger Pope described jail staff “receiving confidential information” that illegal drugs were being handed out and used in part of the facility’s maximum security section on the afternoon of April 20.

Pope said jail staff began a series of strip searches and found four inmates, including Hill, suffering from the effects of illegal drugs. Pope said Hill appeared “extremely intoxicated and … breathing heavy” and was administered the drug overdose antidote Narcan while staff awaited the arrival of emergency medical personnel.

Pope said four inmates, including Hill, had to be treated at a local hospital for extremely high blood pressure and other medical issues linked to drug use. It was later determined that, out of 17 inmates held in the high-security area, 14 of them had taken drugs smuggled in by Hill.

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The full list jail staff composed of what Hill brought in included: 0.4 grams each of cocaine and heroin, 5.9 grams of methamphetamine, 1.4 grams of a drug called “pink bath salts”, 10 morphine (30 milligram ) tablets and two ecstasy pills.

Pope said Hill managed to smuggle in all these drugs concealed in his rectum after he was arrested April 18 on a warrant. He then started trading the drugs for “commissary items and potentially other funds” he planned to use in a scheme to raise bail money for himself.

In addition to the prison term, Hill was ordered to pay fines and costs totaling $1,700, although they were largely offset by an incarceration credit of $1,515 earned since Hill has been held in custody since April 18.

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Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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