A deputy jailer with the Daviess County Detention Center was charged with felony promoting contraband last week for smuggling cellphones and other banned items into the jail for inmates.
Kentucky State Police reports say Christian D. West, 22, of Utica was charged Friday with three counts of first-degree promoting contraband, which is a Class D felony.
Jailer Art Maglinger said deputies began investigating after noticing suspicious activity. The jail’s special response team conducted a search and confiscated three cellphones. KSP reports say tobacco products were also recovered.
Reports say investigators interviewed West, who said he had been paid cash or paid through a cash app to supply cellphones and tobacco products to the inmates.
Maglinger said cellphones are a concern, because they can be used for criminal activity, such as planning for drugs to be smuggled into the jail.
“It’s definitely a safety and security issue,” Maglinger said. “Our policy is only supervisors and above are allowed to have cellphones on the secure side.
“It’s not an uncommon thing to uncover a cellphone. I would say it’s more common in the prisons.”
The arrest citation says West told investigators “he knew what he was doing was illegal, and was doing it for the money.”
First-degree promoting contraband is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. West was also charged with six counts of misdemeanor second-degree contraband, in connection with the tobacco products found in the cells, reports say.
West was booked into the Henderson County jail and released, Maglinger said. West was taken to the Henderson jail so he would not be incarcerated with inmates also involved with the contraband, Maglinger said.
The phones were turned over to KSP.
“I know the investigation is ongoing,” Maglinger said.
West had worked at the jail since August. The KSP report says West was paid approximately $1,000 over a month-and-a-half period to bring in the contraband.
“There was an aspect of inmate manipulation,” said Maglinger, who noted that part of deputy training is learning how to avoid being manipulated by inmates.
“We’re hoping it’s an isolated incident,” Maglinger said. “It was a rare event. The deputies try to serve with integrity.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse