MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Six people have been indicted in a federal prison contraband case, accusing the defendants of smuggling cell phones into the Montgomery City Jail, says U.S. Attorney George Beck, Jr. and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Beck said the investigation, conducted by the USMS, resulted in the arrests of Rasheen Jahmal Smith, 30; Curtis Caffie, 24; Derreana Gray, 24; Curtis Jackson, 54; Peggy Caffie Jackson, 48; and Jeremy Terrell Caffie, 28. A seventh defendant, Joshua Jackson, was not indicted with the other defendants in this case.
On April 25 Joshua Jarrell Jackson pleaded guilty for his role in the plan and for attempting to influence a witness to provide a false statement to deputy United States Marshals during the course of their investigation.
Beck said all the suspect are from Montgomery and were arrested over the weekend.
"A cell phone these days is an essential part of the daily affairs of most law abiding citizens," Attorney Beck explained. "However, cell phones in the hands of prisoners present a serious threat to public safety, the safety of correctional officers, and other inmates as well."
Court documents indicate Rasheen Smith, Curtis Caffie, and Joshua Jackson came up with a plan to smuggle the phones into the jail where they were awaiting trial on unrelated federal drug charges.
On Nov. 24, family members and others are accused of then sending the phones in a package addressed to Smith. The package, purportedly containing legal documents allegedly mailed from his attorney's office, was intercepted by jail employees who became suspicious of its contents.
Smith was called in to open the package. That's when authorities discovered 3 cell phones and chargers. All three inmates confessed to their roles in attempting to smuggle the contraband into the jail.
"At one time, drugs and tobacco were the contraband of choice by prisoners. Now, wireless telephones are becoming increasingly popular," U.S. Marshal Tom Hession said. "The correctional personnel that intercepted the devices are to be commended. Correctional institutions must continue to maintain their vigilance toward detection of smuggling and possession of the devices by inmates, excellent intelligence gathering and uphold effective practices to minimize the dangers posed by inmate wireless telephone possession.
"An inmate's illegal activity may involve discussions with fellow criminals outside the prison walls about drug trafficking, money laundering or intimidating witnesses – or worse, plotting their murders," said Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley. "Jail personnel involved with this incident are to be commended for their attention to detail and subsequent efforts to protect our community, their fellow officers and all those incarcerated at the Montgomery City Jail."
A conviction for conspiracy to commit the charged offenses carries a potential sentence maximum sentence of 5 years in prison.