6 Arrested, Including Teacher, In Felony Drug Conspiracy

Posted at 4:43 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 18:21:24-04

Six people, including a teacher, have been charged with felony conspiracy to introduce drugs into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center.

Officials confirmed Thursday that 50-year-old Rutherford County Schools teacher Shelley Gurda, of Murfreesboro, was charged with conspiracy to introduce Suboxone into the jail on September 12.

There were five other co-defendants also charged with conspiracy, including:

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

Authorities said Conner Russell was also charged with introducing contraband into a penal facility.

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

Gurda was a kindergarten teacher at Stewartsboro Elementary School. She was hired on August 1, 2016, and she has no other record of discipline issues in her personnel file.

Detention staff intercepted telephone calls and received information from inmates about the possible conspiracy. Information was then forwarded to the Criminal Investigations Division.

The investigation showed Gurda, Carter, and Russell allegedly conspired to attempt to deliver Suboxone to inmates Thomas Gurda Jr., Collin Russell, and Phipps.

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

The Suboxone was intercepted before it reached the inmates. Hearings have been set for October 17.

Officials said Suboxone is a drug that treats adults who are addicted or dependent on opioids.