The Mississippi Link Newswire
JACKSON – Four people have been arrested and several plastic bags of tobacco, a dozen cell phones with phone chargers and other suspected contraband were seized after Rankin County sheriff’s deputies apparently foiled a plan to toss the items over a fence at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility late Wednesday night.
A citizen’s call to the Sheriff’s Office about 10:30 p.m. is credited with alerting and sending deputies to the 3700 block of Mississippi 468 near the prison in Pearl, where the four were stopped. The citizen had reported seeing two males getting out of a vehicle and carrying multiple bags.
Charged with conspiracy to introduce contraband into a correctional facility are Nikita Davis, 23, Antonio Conner, 19, Jeremy Nelson, 18, and Yakeyla Rogers, 22, all of Quitman. They were taken to the Rankin County Jail and were scheduled to have a bond hearing this morning and a preliminary hearing Tuesday.
Davis is currently under the supervision of the Mississippi Department of Corrections in Clarke County for non-residential burglary. Convicted on Nov. 6, 2013, he was sentenced to four years’ probation.
“I sincerely appreciate what the deputies did and thank the citizen who made the call,” MDOC Commissioner Christopher B. Epps said. “We have a great working relationship with Sheriff Bryan Bailey.”
“For months now, we have been dealing with individuals throwing items over the fence at CMCF as well as at other prisons,” Epps said. “There have been several arrests aside from these.”
MDOC is installing about a mile of netting around CMCF at a cost of more than $200,000 to prevent items from being thrown over the fence.
“This expenditure is unexpected, but necessary because contraband can result in staff and inmates being killed or hurt,” Epps said.
Netting placed around Building 720 in August already has made a huge impact, MDOC investigators said. In fact, according to the investigators, there have been no incidents of contraband being found in this particular area since the netting went up.
The items seized Wednesday night include: Ten 16-ounce bags of tobacco, six 12-ounce bags of tobacco, 13 cell phones with phone chargers, three packs of Tops rolling paper, a wave cap, four Bic lighters, 1 Gerber tool knife, two screwdrivers, one set of dice, three 1.5 liter plastic bottles containing a clear liquid substance, plastic sandwich bags and 2.95 ounces of a green leafy substance.
The intended recipient of the items is under investigation, and once determined, the appropriate charges will be filed, MDOC investigators said.
Introduction of contraband into a correctional facility is punishable by three to 15 years in prison, a maximum $25,000 fine, or both. Conspiracy to introduce contraband carries up to a $5,000 fine, five years imprisonment, or both.