PENDLETON, Ind.– A two-week investigation resulted in the arrests of a major supplier of the drug Suboxone and a Pendleton Correctional officer who is accused of smuggling the drugs into the Correctional Industrial Facility.
Sources close the investigation said 52 year old Sherrie Ausherman was arrested Thursday afternoon. A search of Ausherman’s home in Lebanon turned up several strips of Suboxone found inside balloons, which are commonly used to smuggle contraband into restricted facilities.
Ausherman is the mother of an inmate who was working with a correctional officer who was smuggling the Suboxone into the facility, sources said.
That officer was Mark Wooten of Westfield, who was arrested Wednesday when he attempted to smuggle 200 strips of Suboxone into the prison.
Suboxone is a highly addictive narcotic used to treat pain. It comes in pill form and in strips that dissolve in the mouth. The Indiana Department of Correction says they've been working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to cut off the source before the drugs get inside the prison.
“If we can trail it back to where we understand where the drugs are coming in who's giving it to the mule then we can stem the drugs trafficking coming into our prisons long before it gets to our front door," said Ike Randolph, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Correction.
IDOC says Wooten was also immediately terminated from his position. Ausherman, the inmate and Wooten are all expected to face trafficking and dealing charges.
This marks the fifth time a correctional officer or someone working at one of the two state correctional facilities in Pendleton that have been arrested in the last 8 months. Shyritta Wells was arrested just last week.
IDOC says this Suboxone problem is a national issue and is not exclusive to the facilities in Pendleton.