Six charged in felony conspiracy

Six people, including a Rutherford County Schools teacher, were charged with felony conspiracy to introduce drugs into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center in September, Rutherford County officials said Thursday.

Teacher Shelley Gurda, 50, of Murfreesboro was charged with conspiracy to introduce Suboxene into the jail Sept. 12 with five other co-defendants, said Detective Curtis Beane.

Also charged with conspiracy were:

  • Gurda’s son, Thomas Gurda Jr., 23, of Murfreesboro, an inmate at the Adult Detention Center.
  • Adam Carter, 22, of Murfreesboro, a friend of the Gurdas.
  • Inmate Jeffrey Phipps, 41, of Murfreesboro.
  • Inmate Collin Russell, 26, of Murfreesboro.
  • Russell’s brother, Conner Russell, 22, of Murfreesboro.

Conner Russell was additionally charged with introducing contraband to a penal facility.

James Evans, Communications Coordinator for Rutherford County Schools, said the school system has suspended Shelley Gurda without pay pending the outcome of the police investigation.

Gurda served as a kindergarten teacher at Stewartsboro Elementary School. Her hire date with the school district is Aug. 1, 2016.

Gurda has no other record o3f discipline issues in her personnel file.

Detention Capt. Chris Fly said the detention staff intercepted telephone calls and received information from inmates about the possible conspiracy. They forwarded their information to the Criminal Investigations Division for an investigation.

Beane said the investigation showed Gurda, Carter and Russell allegedly conspired to attempt to deliver Suboxene to inmates Thomas Gurda Jr., Collin Russell and Phipps.

Suboxene is a drug that treats adults who are addicted or dependent on opioids.

“Through the investigation, we found the three on the outside were involved in trying to get the Suboxene to the inmates,” Beane said.

The Suboxene was intercepted before the drug reached the inmates, Beane said.

Hearings on the charges were set Oct. 17 in General Sessions Court.

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