Man, woman charged for attempting to smuggle drugs into Rowan County jail

Published 9:04 am Friday, May 12, 2023

SALISBURY — Rowan County deputies thwarted a drug smuggling attempt after noticing something amiss with a package delivered to the jail.

According to reports from the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, a package was delivered to the jail for Keith Scott Furr, 38, on March 22.

The package appeared to be mailed from a local attorney’s office, but it drew suspicion because that office is just down the street from the detention center.

According to a spokesperson within the department, that attorney had no history of mailing packages.

“Everything they had ever sent was hand delivered,” the spokesperson said.

The package also had postage in excess of $27, which threw up another red flag. The attorney whose name was on the package happened to be in the detention center lobby visiting a client, so the officers approached her and inquired about the package.

The attorney indicated that she did not represent Furr and that her office had not sent the package.

The officers ran the package through the X-ray machine at the courthouse entrance, but nothing appeared on the scan. They subsequently asked the attorney to open the package.

When the attorney opened the package, it contained three pieces of paper and another envelope. At that point, the deputies handed those items to a detective, who tested a piece of the paper in a drug kit.

It returned a positive result for methamphetamine and buprenorphine, an opioid derivative used to treat dependence and addiction.

During the investigation, detectives identified Donna Lea Mullis, 45, as a potential suspect in sending the package.

The detective determined that Mullis would be in the courthouse for a separate charge on May 4 and approached her upon arrival.

During questioning, Mullis reportedly admitted to forging the papers and smearing the methamphetamine and buprenorphine on the paper.

She also told the detective that Furr, who was supposed to receive the package, had requested she send it to him.

Donna Lea Mullis, 45, was arrested on May 4 and charged with identity theft, trafficking heroin or opium and possession of methamphetamine. She was placed under a $70,000 bond.

Keith Scott Furr, 38, was charged with possession with intent to manufacture a schedule-I controlled substance, attempt and conspiracy and trafficking heroin or opium. His bond was set at $250,000.

Furr had been in jail since Dec. 28, 2022, when he was charged with failure to appear. He was previously charged in April 2021 with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.