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Pair arrested trying to break into Virginia jail had power tools, tape and WD-40, officials say

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Posted at 2:32 PM, May 03, 2023

SUFFOLK, Va. — Western Tidewater Regional Jail staff received information and intelligence of a possible plan for illegal drugs and contraband to be brought into the facility by outside people on Monday, according to authorities.

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Western Tidewater Regional Jail

A spokesperson with the jail said that after verifying the information and an additional investigation, it was determined that the security breach was going to be attempted in the early morning hours on Tuesday.

The Facility's Emergency Response Team was tasked with the surveillance and apprehension of anyone who attempted to breach the security of the jail, bring in contraband or conduct any other illegal activities, according to jail officials.

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Western Tidewater Regional Jail

Around 4 a.m. Tuesday, after traversing a wooded area and crossing a fence, two individuals entered the rear property of the jail.

The jail superintendent for the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, William Smith, says he has never seen anything like this.

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Western Tidewater Regional Jail

"It was shocking that someone would actually try to come on the facility property and breach the side of the building or window to try to get drugs into the facility," Smith said.

Officials said Amber Dawn Costello and Justin Michael Lee Fowler hads power tools, tape, WD-40, possible illegal substances and a large knife when they were were taken into custody.

Further investigation revealed the two had been planning the breach for an extended period of time, officials said.

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Western Tidewater Regional Jail

"One of our staff that was reviewing different information coming into the facility saw some information they saw that would be pertinent to a security breach of the facility," Smith said.

Although this is the first time he’s seen someone try to break in the jail, Smith said there have been attempts to smuggle drugs in through other means.

"Its almost an everyday item. Either somebody leaving something outside in the trash can or maybe an inmate worker to pick up, sending something in the mail that’s stamped legal mail," Smith explained.

Costello and Fowler were charged with possession of burglary tools, trespassing and attempt to deliver drugs/narcotics to a prisoner.

Jail officials said additional charges may be pending as the investigation continues.

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