After an investigation by Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office jail deputies, five current inmates were arrested today (April 14, 2023) for illegal drug use inside the Washington Parish Jail. The investigation began after jail deputies learned that inmate Wendi Gayle Holmes (age 41) had smuggled illegal drugs into the jail at the time of her arrest on April 11, 2023. The drugs were concealed in a body cavity which jail deputies are not legally allowed to probe.
The investigation, including review of video surveillance tapes, revealed that Holmes not only used the drugs, but also distributed them to other inmates, including Yasmmen Julani Mary Thomas (age 32), Arielle Marie Baldwin (age 23), Madisyn Mitchell (age 25), and Sierra N. Nicholson (age 24). All five inmates were arrested and charged with possession of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia inside a corrections facility.
Holmes has a long history of arrests beginning in 2015 when she was charged with possession of illegal drugs and other offenses. In 2016, she was arrested for violating probation. A 2018 arrest was for failure to appear in court. In April 2023, she was arrested again and charged with theft and traffic offenses. Now she faces additional criminal charges for smuggling drugs into the jail and distributing the drugs to other inmates.
Thomas has three arrests on record in Washington Parish. In 2017, she was arrested for burglary of an inhabited dwelling and possession of stolen property. She was arrested again in 2020 on charges of identity theft, forgery and contempt of court. She is currently in jail due to a February 2023 arrest when she was charged with conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs and other offenses. She, too, now faces additional criminal charges.
Baldwin was arrested in 2022 and charged with possession of illegal drugs and several other offenses. She was arrested again in March 2023 for four contempt of court charges and other offenses. She faces additional drug charges based on the incident inside the jail.
Mitchell is incarcerated due to a March 2023 arrest for theft. She now has been charged with drug offenses.
Nicholson has additional arrests in 2022 and February 2023 for illegal drug offenses. Her latest arrest in March 2023 was for possession of illegal drugs and other offenses. She also faces additional charges due to the latest incident inside the jail.
“Our jail staff did an excellent job intervening in this situation and making the arrests,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “For legal reasons, our staff cannot search an inmate’s body cavities at the time of booking into the jail. We would like to think there are never any illegal drugs inside our jail, but the fact is there are likely illegal drugs inside every jail and prison in this country. While it is inconceivable to rational persons that anyone would conceal a dangerous, and possible life ending, substance inside a body cavity, it does happen. I appreciate the intervention of not only our jail deputies but also our jail medical personal and Northshore EMS personnel. There is no doubt that our staff saved the lives of one or more of these inmates.”
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