Woman smuggled drugs into Cook County jail inside baby’s diaper, officials say

Reality McDowell (Cook County sheriff’s office, Unsplash)

CHICAGO — A Chicago woman faces felony charges for allegedly smuggling narcotics into the Cook County jail inside a 9-month-old baby’s diaper.

Reality McDowell, 22, brought the baby with her to visit a jail inmate on January 8, according to the sheriff’s office. Jail officials monitoring live security camera feeds allegedly saw McDowell hand the baby to the inmate, who removed a piece of paper from the baby’s diaper.

Investigators seized the paper. Lab tests confirmed that it had been saturated with PCP, the sheriff’s office said. Jail officials notified the Department of Child and Family Services about the incident.

Judge Charles Beach released McDowell on Friday. She is charged with bringing a controlled substance into a penal institution and possessing a controlled substance. The sheriff’s office will seek a felony indictment of the inmate who was allegedly involved.

Since last year, 36 people have been charged with drug-related crimes at the jail. According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, six people died from accidental drug overdoses at the jail in 2023.

Officials stepped up efforts to keep narcotics from entering the facility via drug-soaked papers. Last April, the sheriff’s office enacted new restrictions after two private defense attorneys were caught bringing contaminated papers into the jail for client meetings.

In May 2023, an inmate held on a murder charge and his girlfriend were accused of conspiring to bring drug-laced papers into jail. That same month, a woman working for a jail contractor was charged with bringing drug-soaked papers worth $125,000 into the facility. Prosecutors charged two inmates with having drug-laced papers inside the jail last June.

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