In an incident that exposed the gritty underbelly of life in a state penitentiary, two women, one middle-aged and the other well into her golden years, were arrested earlier this month for trying to smuggle in drugs and tobacco.

An investigation by Florida Department of Correction Senior Inspector J. Newton Livingston, with the inspector general’s contraband interdiction unit, led to the Jan. 11 arrest, in separate incidents, of Pamela A. Biggs, 50, New Smyrna Beach, and Sharon K. Kinser, 73, Nashville, Ga.

Both women were intercepted before they could hand over any contraband to the inmate they were to visit. Authorities reported in their probable cause affidavits that they had advance knowledge of the schemes after listening to “lawfully reported phone calls” of inmates at Franklin Correctional Institution.

Kinser is alleged to have tried to smuggle in a plastic bag containing more than 105 grams of tobacco, and 15 Lortab pills, which contain the narcotic hydrocodone.

Because the pills, which weighed nearly 11 grams, were in excess of the four-gram threshold for drug trafficking, Kinser was charged with trafficking in a controlled substance, as well as sale or possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and introduction of contraband into a state prison.

Biggs, who authorities said tried to smuggle in more than 29 grams of “synthetic cannabinoids wrapped with plastic and black tape,” was charged only with introduction of contraband into a state prison.

Livingston wrote that telephone conversations between Biggs and FCI inmate Edwin Plummer, 49, led the inspector to believe she “was going to introduce contraband at Plummer’s request on Jan. 11.”

How authorities became aware Kinser planned to smuggle in contraband to inmate Harry Page, 33, is not detailed in the probable cause report.

It says Kinser, as was the case with Biggs, voluntarily removed the contents from her groin area when confronted and questioned by authorities, in the presence of a female corrections officer.

In addition to a plastic bag filled with tobacco and the pills, Kinser was transporting a feminine napkin that contained two bundles of tobacco, weighing nearly 129 grams.

Kinser told authorities that she was introducing the items at Page’s request, and intended to give them to him. She “further admitted she had introduced tobacco in the same manner several times and hydrocodone on one other occasion,” read the report.

Kevin Steiger, the public defender, was appointed to represent Kinser, who was given a first appearance before Wakulla County Judge Jill Walker. She paid a $4,500 surety bond, and was released.

Steiger was also appointed by Walker to represent Biggs, who paid a $1,500 bond and was released.

Plummer, with a history of prison terms for robbery, burglary and theft in Volusia County, is about three years away from completing a 19-year sentence for kidnapping in the commission of a carjacking conducted without a deadly weapon, in Brevard County.

Page, also with a history of prison time for thefts and burglaries in Pasco County, is a little more than a year shy of finishing a 15-year sentence for kidnapping and committing sexual battery with a weapon or force.