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Woman arrested for Pelican Bay smuggling plot

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

A conspiracy investigation ended in the arrest of a 46-year-old woman who planned on smuggling into Pelican Bay State Prison.

Debra A. Panagos, Modesto, was arrested last weekend for conspiring to bring narcotics to her son, Bud, who is incarcerated at Pelican Bay.

Pelican Bay staff uncovered the mother and son's plan while listening to recorded phone conversations between the two, according to reports from the Del Norte County District Attorney's Office. This surveillance also told officials the delivery was scheduled the weekend of Jan. 27.

When Debra and her husband, Steve Panagos, came to the prison to visit their son, Pelican Bay officers immediately searched. Correctional officers did not find any contraband on them, however.

At the same time the Panagos' were being searched, so was their hotel room at the Travelodge in Crescent City. Inside the room investigators found small amounts of meth, a meth pipe and two latex wrapped bindles that are commonly used to smuggle narcotics into prisons.

During interviews with investigators Debra said her husband did not have anything to do with the attempt to deliver drugs. He was later released, and Debra was booked in the Del Norte County Jail.

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