A former Minnesota correctional officer is accused of spraying printouts of song lyrics with a synthetic drug, then mailing the saturated papers to prison inmates.
Grace M. Telfer, of Minnetonka, was charged in Hennepin County District Court Monday with one count of sending contraband into a state prison, a felony with a max sentence of up to 10 years. The narcotics scheme happened in early 2021, the charges said, when the 24-year-old was working at the all-female Shakopee correctional facility.
The investigation began in March of 2021, when the Office of Special Investigations began looking into a "multiple facilities narcotics case," according to the charges, with Telfer quickly tabbed as one of the individuals involved in the scheme. One of the early incidents included letters sent to two individuals at the Oak Park Heights prison. The envelopes were marked as legal mail and included return addresses for two separate law firms, the charges state.
But investigators contacted those law firms, and both said the recipients were not clients. Two days later, a K9 indicated narcotics on some mail. And 13 days after that, an envelope tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the criminal complaint.
In the weeks that followed, investigators monitored phone calls and USPS mail as the pieced together the plot, which involved Telfer, a former inmate and additional current inmates, the charges state.
In these "countless" phone calls, the individuals involved spoke openly about getting drugs into the prisons, according to the charges. Telfer (who went by the alias "Gina") discussed sending batches to individuals, saturating both sides of the papers she sent, and how she planned to begin using watercolor paper with song lyrics rather than printing out statutes, the charges allege.
On April 16, three days after she resigned from her prison job to work at a local restaurant, law enforcement conducted a search warrant at her Minnetonka home and conducted an interview with her. The complaint alleges that during this interview, Telfer admitted to:
- Working with other current and former inmates
- Buying the K2 spray online
- Printing song lyrics on paper
- Spraying the liquid onto that paper
- Sending the printout via USPS mail to the Stillwater and Faribault prisons
- One time, writing motivational quotes in red pen instead of printing song lyrics
- Previously using the legal mail stamp to get the contraband to inmates faster
- Receiving $3,500 total for her role
- Taking part in order to help inmates make money
Telfer is not in custody. She's due in court for her first appearance on April 14.