A Jefferson County jailer is facing charges for furnishing prohibited articles to inmates and possession of a controlled substance inside a correctional facility, according to a news release from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.
The arrest followed an on-going undercover investigation at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Adult Detention Center that used the K-9 Unit from the Arkansas Department of Correction on Friday to search the jail.
In addition, two jail detainees are facing additional charges after contraband was found in their shared cell during the shakedown.
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Lecora Rene Hawkins, 36, was arrested and booked Friday at 11:08 a.m. on probable cause for furnishing prohibited articles and for possession of controlled substance at a correctional facility.
At a court hearing for Hawkins Monday, Tri-County Drug Task Force Investigator Joseph O’Neal reported that sheriff’s investigators Camisha Marks and Sidney Marini noticed a bulge in Hawkins’ underwear around her crotch, and when Hawkins was questioned, she told them that it was a “feminine pad.”
When Marini checked, she found a blue latex glove that contained a plastic-wrapped bundle with tobacco and suspected marijuana in it. The tobacco weighed 29.2 grams, and the suspected marijuana, which will be sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for analysis, weighed 6.7 grams.
O’Neal reported that when Hawkins was questioned, she allegedly said she was bringing in the contraband for someone, adding that this was the first time she had brought contraband into the facility. She also said she had worked at the jail for nine months.
“The issue of furnishing contraband into any detention or correctional facility is extremely serious,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr.
“As a state mandate, deputy jailers who are hired are required to complete a minimum of 56 hours of jail training; however, we require each of our deputy jailers to complete 72 hrs. During that training, jailers are warned repeatedly that if they allow themselves to be coerced or conspire with anyone especially a detainee to bring contraband into our detention facilities that they will suffer the consequences of their actions.
"The issue of contraband being introduced into our detention facility is challenging and threatening not only to the safety and security of the facility but those who work and are detained there. This is all the reason why we conduct these undercover operations on a routine basis and train our staff during jail training. We will pursue charging with a
maximum penalty for anyone that violate the policies of our jail without exception.”
If convicted, Hawkins faces a minimum sentence of 5 to 20 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. According to Arkansas Code Annotated, A.C.A. § 5-54-119, this crime is listed as a Class B Felony.
Additionally, Donterrius Brown, 19, and Antwoine Carter, 27, were in a two-man cell in C-Pod, and Task Force Investigator Bo Hudson reported that the ADC drug K9 alerted on a mesh bag under the desk, as well as items on top of the desk.
When investigators checked the bag, they found a Zappo potato chip bag containing loose tobacco wrapped in plastic and a green leafy substance suspected to be marijuana also wrapped in plastic.
A cigarette lighter and two Kool cigarettes were found on the desktop in an Oreo cookie package. Also found was a cell phone inside an expansion joint on the rear cell wall.
Brown, who is being held on two counts of capital murder and 17 counts of committing a terroristic act, said he had no knowledge of the contraband.
Carter, who is being held on drug and weapon-related charges, said that someone in B-Pod was sliding marijuana under the door to Brown. He also said he had met jailer Hawkins when he worked at Lennox in 2012 and 2013 because she was the one who hired him. He said Hawkins had never given him anything and he had never had sex with her.
Investigators located two cell phones during the shakedown, and O’Neal reported that Hawkins' personal cell phone number was found on one of them with the notation “Da Plug.”
On Monday, Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth set a $5,000 bond for Hawkins after ruling prosecutors have probable cause to charge her with furnishing prohibited articles and possession of a controlled substance.
Additional arrests and charges are looming as this investigation is on-going Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Operations Commander Major Randy Dolphin said.