Rebecca J. Arndt

Rebecca J. Arndt. 

DECATUR — Another person is facing preliminary calculated drug conspiracy charges in the wake of Macon County Jail staff breaking a smuggling operation using methamphetamine-laced sheets of writing and coloring paper to get drugs into the facility.

A sworn affidavit said 21-year-old Rebecca J. Arndt of Decatur was arrested Friday on the drug conspiracy charge and charges of the manufacture/delivery of methamphetamine and the possession of contraband in a penal institution. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the state’s attorney’s office.

Arndt is the niece of jail inmate Damien O. McClure, 36, who faces similar charges, as does another Decatur woman, Tammy L. Leigh, 46. Both are due to have preliminary court hearings Wednesday.

The affidavit concerning Arndt’s case said she took part in a scheme to smuggle drugs to McClure disguised in meth-soaked pages of coloring books and other written material. McClure would then tear the pages into strips for resale to other inmates who paid using their jail-issued gift cards.

Macon County sheriff’s detective T.J. Wolfe said in the affidavit that McClure deposited money from other prisoners in his jail commissary account. He further supplemented it with drug sale proceeds he orchestrated outside the jail, Wolfe said, and planned to continue the scheme when he was transferred from the jail to the Illinois prison system, where he is due to serve an eight-year sentence for being an armed habitual criminal. Wolfe said he had more than $2,800 in his jail account.

Wolfe said Arndt helped supply her “Unkle Damo” with the drug-laced pages, and jail staff intercepted McClure communicating with her via coded telephone messages. “Tell my niece very good job and I’ll be writing her back soon,” was one message quoted by Wolfe.

“... Arndt admitted to sending methamphetamine laced letters to McClure on three occasions, including a coloring book page from April 8,” Wolfe added.

Macon County Jail records show Arndt is free after posting $25,000 bond and is due to be arraigned June 11.

2019 mug shots from the Herald & Review 

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


Macon County Courts Reporter

Macon County courts reporter for the Herald & Review.

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