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Oct 2, 8:13 PM EDT

Investigation brewing over jailhouse yeast

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) -- Add yeast to the list of items not allowed in jails. The Mesa County sheriff's department recently confiscated two toothpaste tubes full of brewer's yeast that somebody tried to smuggle into the county jail.

Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the smuggling attempt wasn't surprising. What raised eyebrows was the source: the yeast, which can be used to make "jailhouse hooch," was found packed in with some uniforms shipped from a South Carolina jail-item supply company.

"It was awful suspicious," Hilkey said.

Initial tests on the substance were negative for marijuana, cocaine and hash, Hilkey said. Later, authorities determined the true nature of the substance.

"We're working with the vendor, who took it very, very seriously," Hilkey said.

He said the vendor, who he declined to identify, was conducting an internal investigation.

Hilkey said he figured either an inmate made a connection with a worker at the company's distribution center or somebody intercepted the package and repackaged the items with the yeast inside.

"We don't want to lay all the blame on the vendor," Hilkey said. "It could be something as benign as someone who used to be an inmate and he just wanted to brighten someone's day. We may never know."

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-I have seen homebrew found in fire extinguishers. The inmates would empty it and fill it with fruit, etc. to ferment and would stick the needle so it would read charged so when you made your checks all appeared normal. Lousy cons!!
 
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