AUGUSTA — A Gardiner woman pleaded guilty to trafficking in prison contraband Thursday for receiving pills smuggled into Kennebec County jail by another inmate.

Jennifer Piper, 31, admitted to receiving Subutex pills, a drug used to treat opiate addiction, which had been smuggled into the jail by another inmate, Kelli A. Johnson, 35, of Winslow, hidden in a condom in Johnson’s body. Johnson pleaded guilty to the same charge last month.

Piper pleaded guilty to the felony charge and was sentenced Thursday to two years of incarceration, but with the entire two years suspended, meaning she won’t have to serve the time if she complies with conditions of her probation. She was sentenced to two years’ probation, with conditions including a requirement that she submit to random searches and testing for illegal drugs and complete counseling for substance use.

Trafficking in prison contraband is a class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Coleman said the Kennebec County sheriff’s deputy who investigated the Jan. 14  incident said another inmate reported finding a condom on the floor of their cellblock, which, Coleman said, was seen as a sign that drug trafficking was occurring in the jail. He said Johnson was seen giving something to Piper in her bunk and Piper, under questioning, said Johnson had furnished her with Subutex pills.

Piper was in jail on a charge of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs. William Baghdoyan, her attorney, said Thursday she nearly has completed her time in jail and would soon be out, and on probation.

The jail unit where the women were held exclusively houses women in the Criminogenic Addiction and Recovery Academy program, one aimed at helping people break the cycle of rearrest by dealing with their substance abuse and criminal thinking.

Both Piper and Johnson had reported to jail the previous day, Jan. 13, and other inmates told authorities the two seemed close.

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