CLEARFIELD – The final inmate who was charged in an alleged drug-smuggling scheme at the Clearfield County Jail appeared for his preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
Jessica R. Kyler, 36, and Eric J. Kyler, 42, both of Winburne; Justin A. Jordan, 34, of Clearfield; Mason Miles, 26, of SCI Somerset; and Chad A. Schwartz, 47, of SCI Huntingdon were all charged by Sgt. Julie Curry of the Lawrence Township police in May.
Miles was charged with felony conspiracy-contraband/controlled substance; contraband/controlled substance, three counts; conspiracy-possession of controlled substance, contraband inmate; possession of controlled substance, contraband inmate, three counts; conspiracy-criminal use of communication facility; criminal use of communication facility, eight counts; and related offenses.
Miles had all charges bound over to the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas for further disposition following a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Senior Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins.
Eric and Jessica Kyler, Jordan and Schwartz previously had their cases bound over to county court following their proceeding in May.
Prior to Miles’ hearing, Senior Deputy Attorney General David Gorman presented the transcript of Curry’s testimony given at that previous proceeding, and Miles’ attorney, Christopher Mohney, conceded to the testimony given under direct examination.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred Feb. 26 at the jail while several inmates were housed in the West Multi-Purpose Room, according to the previous testimony from Curry.
She said these inmates had access to a nearby isolation cell, and they dug a hole in the wall underneath the window that extended from the interior to the outside.
When she received initial information from Warden Greg Collins on March 1, he suspected contraband was being smuggled into the jail through the hole.
She said Collins told her that during visiting hours Feb. 26, Jessica Kyler arrived at the jail and was observed on surveillance approaching the window where the hole was later located.
She said the deputy warden proceeded to review phone calls between Jessica Kyler and inmate Eric Kyler, and discovered she was attempting to smuggle contraband into the jail.
However, the contraband reportedly became stuck in the hole, and Jessica Kyler had to leave, retrieve a screwdriver and coat hanger and then return to push the contraband into the jail.
Curry said Jessica Kyler was observed making repeated attempts to deliver the contraband. A search of the jail was conducted, but there wasn’t any contraband found inside.
She said prison staff found a black, winter glove outside the jail underneath the window. She said she collected this glove as well as a coat hanger, which was found in the East MPR on March 1.
According to testimony from Curry, the West MPR inmates were moved to the East MPR after the hole was located in the isolation cell by prison staff.
As part of her investigation, she was provided with several recordings of phone calls and a visitation between Jessica and Eric Kyler, which reportedly incriminated Jordan, Miles and Schwartz.
She said during the first call, Eric Kyler can be heard directing Jessica to “crush it up.” Later, he told her to “put it in the thing fast” and to “put it all the way in” but to do it after her visit.
“Jessica replied ‘alright,’” Curry testified. She said during the second call, Eric Kyler related to Jessica Kyler that the ink insert from a pen will stick out, so she’ll know where the hole is at.
She said Jessica Kyler appeared to be concerned about getting arrested over this. She said Eric Kyler insisted he wouldn’t “let them find it,” so she wouldn’t “get into trouble.”
During their visitation, Curry said Eric told Jessica Kyler again that it should be “real thin” and that the hole will be underneath the window, the brick will stick out and to look for the pen.
She said Eric Kyler can be heard telling Jessica Kyler that it will stick out an inch or two and “they said they stuck it out there.” Then, she said he went on to say he gets all the “Sara.”
When asked “all the what,” Curry said Eric Kyler stated “Sara” and “Quill” and told Jessica Kyler to “put them together.” She said Seroquel is an anti-psychotic that’s available by prescription only, and is commonly used by individuals addicted to methamphetamine who need to cope with psychotic episodes.
Curry said Eric Kyler also related to Jessica Kyler that the security camera “doesn’t point right there,” and then asked if she had the amount he’d asked for.
“As the visitation ends, he told Jessica: “This is the best time to do it, so hurry up,” she testified.
During the fourth call, Curry said Jessica Kyler related to Eric Kyler that she’s “going out now” and gathering up tools with “Chad.” She said Jessica Kyler later told him that “it’s stuck in the wall.”
She said during the fifth call, Eric Kyler stated they had a “bar stuck” and are trying to make the hole bigger. After some discussion, she said Eric told Jessica Kyler not to do anything until the bar is unstuck.
During the sixth call, Curry said Eric directed Jessica Kyler to hit the bar back through the wall, at which point she heard “hitting sounds” in the background.
She said Eric Kyler can also be heard yelling at “Justin” and others before giving Jessica Kyler further instructions.
After this, she said Jessica related that she had the straw all the way through, Eric Kyler yelled for “Justin” to see what’s going on and a male voice can be heard saying: “can’t see nothing.”
At one point, Curry said Eric warned Jessica that doors were opening and directed her to “just stop, leave it.”
She said Jessica Kyler told him that she was going to call “Chad” for a ride and when he directed her not to leave anything behind, she stated she’d left the coat hanger.
During the seventh call, Curry said Jessica Kyler can be heard telling Eric Kyler that she’s already been out there three times, she’s not going back and he’s so worried about his drugs, he’s now involved her.
Curry said Eric Kyler told Jessica Kyler to talk to “Mason,” and he (Miles) asked if she had another straw. Jessica Kyler replied “no.” After some more discussion, Eric Kyler told Jessica Kyler that he (“Justin”) didn’t get it.
At this point, Curry said Jessica Kyler was asked to make another one, and she can be heard asking “are they paying for it?” and if they are, “I’ll go pick another one up and do it.”
This, she said, is followed by some discussion of Jessica Kyler having left behind a glove and Eric Kyler saying he wished she’d come back for that.”
Jessica told him that she’d gotten rid of all the [expletive] that could link her to it,” Curry testified.
Under cross-examination Wednesday, Mohney asked Curry about the basis for her charges against his client.
She said during the seventh call specifically, Miles was heard on the phone with Jessica Kyler, and this was confirmed by surveillance video.
Curry also said Miles faced the same set of charges as his co-defendants because he took a “substantial step” in commission of the crimes.
During the final phone call, she said Eric told Jessica Kyler that the biggest reason for it was to say “thank you, we did make that happen.”
Curry said the cost to repair the interior and exterior jail wall damage was minimal and less than $100.
In his closing argument, Mohney said he couldn’t figure out why Miles was charged with 21 counts of crimes when the commonwealth’s basis originated from one phone call.
Mohney said most – if not all – of the charges against Miles should be dismissed. “I think you need more than speculation of a conspiracy.”
Gorman countered, saying while Miles only played a minor role, he still took a “substantial step” in this drug-smuggling scheme. He also said his co-defendants, Eric and Jessica Kyler, have already agreed to plead guilty.