Michigan teacher accused of smuggling fentanyl to inmates in jail education program

A teacher whose role was to educate inmates at the Genesee County Jail is now in jail facing charges of smuggling drugs to those inmates.

Meredith Leyrer, 54, was a teacher at Mount Morris High School, a partner school with the Inmate Growth Naturally and Intentionally Through Education (IGNITE) program. This program provides schooling to inmates and includes a special floor of the jail called IGNITE University for those to get additional time to study and more one-on-one help.

Meredith Leyrer

Genesee County Sheriff Christopher Swanson said Leyrer had full access to the students and began taking advantage of that access in December 2022. 

"They use their positions of influence and trust, and they abuse it," he said.

That month, Leyrer allegedly put more than $630 into the accounts of three inmates - Deandre Arrington, Marquise Coleman, and Todd Cardoza.

She then allegedly began smuggling drugs to the students in the program. She brought in six cans of marijuana wax, authorities say, along with fentanyl pills. Surveillance video from inside the jail July 17 showed Leyrer giving Arrington 135 fentanyl pills hidden in an envelope.

"This is not a teacher. This is a drug smuggler who plays a role of a teacher," he said.

Leyrer is also accused of smuggling a cell phone into the jail. Swanson said she used it to have phone sex with inmates, and in December 2022 made more than 355 calls to nine inmates.

She was arrested Monday. Swanson said that when Lyerer was in custody, he asked her why she did it. She allegedly said that she had low self-esteem and was groomed by the inmates.

"It doesn't excuse what they did, but I'm telling you why she did it," Swanson said.

Leyrer has been separated from Mount Morris High School.

She is now facing charges of manufacturing and delivering narcotics, bringing contraband into a correctional facility, and bringing a phone into a correctional facility. She is being held on a $20,000 cash bond.

Swanson said the three inmates involved in the drug smuggling are in restrictive housing and permanently suspended from IGNITE University. They can still use the IGNITE program, but will not be allowed on the special floor, which is where the drugs were being exchanged.