Orange County sheriff’s officials Thursday will implement a new system regarding mail sent to jail inmates in a move they say is meant to address an increase in smuggled-in drugs.

As of Thursday, all Orange County Jail facilities will no longer accept cardstock paper, greeting cards and colored paper sent through the mail to inmates. Only mail written on postcards, lined white paper or plain white paper that is not cardstock weight will be accepted.

As of last month, drug-sniffing dogs in the jails had intercepted 147 greeting cards containing drugs addressed to inmates, according to sheriff’s officials, who said most of those cards were soaked in methamphetamine.

Between Jan. 1 and March 31, nearly three dozen people booked into county lockups have been caught attempting to smuggle in drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana or prescription medications, sheriff’s officials said.

“This is an issue of safety and security,” Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said. “We take seriously our charge to provide protection for the inmates in our care, and decreasing contraband and access to it will make our jails safer for inmates, staff and visitors.”

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