At a price of a dollar or less, a box of Cra-Z-Art brand markers is an item commonly used in an elementary school classroom. But the product was used in a far less common manner last week when several units in a box were employed in a attempt to smuggle smoking supplies to an inmate at the Texas County Jail.

By Doug Davison, Houston Herald

When Erin Jarman recently attempted to smuggle tobacco and rolling papers into the Texas County Jail so inmate Chad Yates might somehow get a chance to roll his own, the 29-year-old Houston woman was showing some relatively serious creativity.

Who knew a box of Cra-Z-Art markers – a staple on any second-grader’s list of back-to-school needs – could be transformed into a means of helping someone “on the inside” maintain a nicotine habit formed “on the outside?”

Think about it: the guts of color markers replaced by smoking supplies. Kind of makes one wonder whether the list of things to be watched out for by airport security needs to be expanded.
If markers can be filled with Phillip Morris’ finest, why couldn’t they be used in far more sinister fashion? Could they not be packed with plastic explosives? Could they even be fitted with retractable blades?

No intent here to offer up ideas to Al-Qaeda operatives (they don’t seem to need any help, anyway), but maybe this is a can of worms that would best remain sealed.

Doug Davison joined the Houston Herald in September as a writer, copy editor and general office worker. He’s been assigned the crime beat and through this blog, will share the most interesting, intriguing and sometimes funny stories he discovers weekly at the Texas County Justice Center. You can contact Doug at