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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -
A Georgia woman is facing felony charges for attempting to bring a large bag of marijuana into a government building.
The sheriff's office believes the drugs were not for personal use, and she didn't just forget they were in her purse.
On Wednesday, the Muscogee County sheriff's department received an anonymous tip that a woman named Jamie Tudor would attempt to deliver marijuana to her boyfriend. He is a prison inmate who was assigned to a work detail inside the Columbus government center.
Security staff at the public entrance was given a picture of Tudor and notified in advance that she was planning to enter the building.
She tried getting through the checkpoint just before 10 a.m. and was immediately detained. Thirty grams of marijuana were seized.
"I think this goes to show that the security measures we have in place - they work," said Sheriff John Darr.
Officials believe her plan was to leave the drugs somewhere in the building where the inmate could later find them while doing janitorial work.
According to the sheriff, the street value of that amount of marijuana is about $300, but if smuggled inside the Muscogee County prison, that value would increase dramatically.
Tudor, who is from Cedartown Georgia, was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and crossing the guard line with contraband.
Convicts who are serving time for minor offenses and meet other strict requirements are allowed to work in the community- maintaining public roads and buildings for free.
"They're assigned to different areas within the government center, from the east wing to the west wing to the main tower. And of course they have different functions of what they do day-in and day-out," said Darr.
While citizens may easily run into these inmates around town, authorities strongly caution against giving them anything they might ask for.
"At no point in time should they have any personal dealing with inmates. It's unlawful for any person to give an item to an inmate without knowledge of the warden," said deputy jail warden S.J. Thomas.
If anyone gives so much as a cigarette to an inmate who is working outside the jail, they face a felony charge that carries a penalty of one to five years. It's considered the same as smuggling contraband into the jail yourself.
The inmate who was supposed to receive the drugs is no longer allowed to leave the jail on work details and officials are taking the added measure of transferring him to a different prison.