Emma Mae Faulk of Macon died recently at age 74, a passing that authorities said set into motion one of the more bizarre smuggling capers the Bibb County jail has ever seen.
As Faulk’s body lay in a casket Thursday evening at a private viewing arranged for her two jailed grandsons, inside her coffin, apparently secreted away, were a baggie of marijuana, a packet of leaf tobacco, a lighter and a cellphone.
The grandsons, Nekoase Antwan Vinson, 30, and Henry Ison Rouse, 27, were searched and handcuffed before departing the jail. They were then driven to Bentley & Sons Funeral Home on Montpelier Avenue.
When they arrived, the Rev. Roland Stroud recalled , “One of them stayed in there (with the casket) a good amount of time.”
The two prisoners allegedly hatched a scheme to have acquaintances on the outside stash the weed and other items in their grandmother’s casket, then pluck it as they paid their last respects, Sheriff David Davis said.
“We see ingenious ways for the inmates to bring in contraband,” he said, “but this is a new one on us.”
Jailers found the items, which Vinson had crammed in a rag and tucked in his groin, when the prisoners returned to the county lockup, the sheriff said.
“This incident illustrates the audacity of this generation of jail inmates,” Davis said in a statement. “To use the body of a deceased grandmother to hide drugs and other contraband is wicked.”
Vinson and Rouse now face contraband and marijuana-possession charges.
Vinson has been in the Bibb jail since July 28 in an undisclosed FBI matter.
Rouse was locked up on a string of alleged crimes on July 4, including street-gang, obstruction and drug charges, records show. He spent six months in state prison for a theft conviction and was released in early 2011.
Rouse’s jail file lists a Cherry Avenue address where his late grandmother once lived.
Meanwhile, investigators were scoping out some of her survivors to see if any of them were involved.
“We’re tracing the family tree right now,” the sheriff said.