Sheriff's office arrests deputy for allegedly bringing contraband into jail

Sunday, December 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ The Cleveland County Sheriff's office has arrested one of its own for allegedly smuggling drugs and other contraband into the jail for some inmates.

John Nathan Smith was fired on the spot and then taken into custody, Undersheriff Roy Bugher said. Prosecutors charged Smith, 23, with two counts of taking contraband into a county jail facility and one count of taking drug paraphernalia into a jail.

Smith entered not guilty pleas to the charges at an arraignment Friday afternoon before Special District Judge Rod Ring. Bond was set at $20,000 and Smith was released.

The undersheriff said deputies received an anonymous tip that Smith was smuggling contraband into the detention facility.

``So we set up surveillance Thursday night, based on what we had been told, and observed him going to his car and getting packages to take into the jail,'' Bugher said.

Smith allegedly had six packages, each addressed to a different inmate, when deputies met him once he was inside. Each package contained $20, which allegedly was Smith's payment for delivering each package.

``We had been told that family members of the inmates would drop off the contraband items and place them in the inmate's vehicle. He would then go out later in the evening, pick them up and deliver them to the inmates,'' Bugher said.

``When deputies set up surveillance, that was exactly what happened. That was the procedure he followed,'' he said.

Smith had worked for the sheriff's department since last July.

Assistant District Attorney Scott Palk said Friday that the two counts of taking contraband inside the detention facility allege the deputy took inside one package that contained cocaine and one package that contained marijuana.

The paraphernalia count alleges he was taking in some syringes, Palk said.

Bugher said some of the packages contained cigarettes, which also are considered contraband items in the jail.