Crime: Rutherford County Schools teacher, 5 others arrested in drug conspiracy

Photo courtesy of Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office

A Rutherford County Schools teacher and five others have been charged with felony conspiracy to introduce drugs into the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center in September, a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office press release confirmed Thursday.

Shelley Gurda, 50, a kindergarten teacher at Stewartsboro Elementary School; Thomas Gurda Jr, 23, an Adult Detention Center inmate and Gurda’s son; Adam Carter, 22, a Murfreesboro resident and friend of the Gurdas; Jeffrey Phipps, 41, another detention center inmate; Collin Russell, 26, a detention center inmate and Russell’s brother Connor Russell, 22, were all charged in the conspiracy.

The press release states that the suspects were charged with conspiracy to introduce Suboxone into the jail on Sept. 12. Suboxone is a drug that is meant to treat adults addicted to or dependent on opioids. Connor Russell was given an additional charge of introducing contraband to a penal facility.

The release also states that James Evans, the communications coordinator for Rutherford County Schools, confirmed that Shelley Gurda has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. Gurda has been a kindergarten teacher at Stewartsboro Elementary since Aug. 1, 2016, and she has no previous record of discipline issues in her personnel file.

According to the release, detention staff intercepted telephone calls and were given information about a possible conspiracy from inmates. The information was then passed on to the Criminal Investigations Division. The investigation found that Gurda, Carter and Russell allegedly conspired to attempt to deliver Suboxone to Thomas Gurda Jr., Collin Russell and Phipps. The Suboxone was intercepted before reaching the inmates.

Hearings for the charges are set for Oct. 17 in General Sessions Court.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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