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Central Indiana jails investing in body scanners to stop trafficking

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. -- Two men died and a third is in the hospital after overdosing on heroin inside the Fayette County Jail.

Fayette County Sheriff, Joey Laughlin said there was no way to know for sure if the suspect had drugs hidden in his body. That's because the county doesn't have a body scanner at the jail.

More and more counties across central Indiana are investing in body scanners. Hamilton County has had theirs for about one year. Trafficking there has stopped and the machine even deters inmates from attempting to bring drugs into the jail.

"We’ve got the body scanner, so they don’t know how to defeat the body scanner, therefore, it reduces them from trying to bring something in," said Hamilton County Asst. Jail Commander Lt. Josh Carey.

The scanner works just like an x-ray or MRI. It shows bones and muscle. Jail staff are easily able to determine if there's something hidden that's not meant to be on a body. For example, staff has found eyeliner sharpeners, coffee and cell phones hidden in bras.

The machines are pricey. The one in Hamilton County cost between $150,000 and $200,000. Lt. Carey said it's worth it.

"Seems like a lot of money, but if you think about the importance of life and to prevent an overdose or to protect the citizens of the county," he said.