Gem of a jam for collared thief as no body cavity secure from long arm of the law.

JOSEPH RAMOS got all choked up over his criminal career – because he swallowed the evidence!

Cops say that the 21-year-old alleged thief made off with two necklaces from a Clearwater, Fla., home, and got himself into a gem of a jam after he was busted on Dec. 11 in a stolen car.

While officers processed him into the holding cell, Ramos was taken to a full-body scanner that had re­cently been installed at the Pinel­las County Jail to screen inmates and prevent them from sneaking contraband into the lock-up.

The high-tech scanner – similar to ones used in airports – can detect pills, plastics, metals, drugs and other objects that could otherwise be con­cealed.

Hardened investigators have seen about everything, but they were still stunned by Ramos’ scanner X-ray, which revealed a large, dark mass in his stomach area.

Incredibly, they say the “mass” turned out to be the two stolen necklaces!

“This is something that otherwise wouldn’t have been detected,” noted Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.

Based on a determination by medical per­sonnel that the jewelry had to be surgically removed, the sheriff concluded that it “was probably a serious health threat.”

Ramos, who apparently has more guts than brains, told investigators he owned the neck­laces.

“Anybody’s going to question that,” said the sheriff. “If they’re yours, why are you swallow­ing them?

“It had to be pretty uncomfortable going down,” added the lawman. “I’m not sure ex­actly how you do that. But I’m surprised he didn’t choke.”

The booty was recovered from the youthful alleged burglar by a surgical team at the local hospital, and investigators took the evidence to the burglarized homeowner.

She identified the necklaces as the ones taken in the heist, and Ramos was charged with burglary and tampering with physical evidence, plus a previous charge of grand theft.

The real winner is the sheriff and his department, who are pleased that the $215,000 scanner was installed this past June.

Normally, deputies use it as part of the pat-down procedure or the occasional strip search.

But this time, it saved a lot of people from getting their hands dirty.

As the sheriff explained: “There are certain areas of the body you can’t search, especially when people ingest things or insert them in certain places.”

But with the scanner, the long arm of the law can reach anywhere!