Several current and former detention officers are suspected of selling drugs, tobacco, tools and cellphones to inmates at the Oklahoma County jail in exchange for prepaid cash cards, court papers filed Wednesday reveal.
A sheriff's investigator, in a search warrant affidavit, said evidence “suggests” that ex-detention officers Miah N. Dukes and Timothy R. Oakes Jr., “as well as unidentified detention officers and inmates, are part of an ongoing criminal enterprise” in which the officers make contact with inmates, friends and family to arrange payment for smuggled contraband.
The officers “receive payment by way of reloadable fund cards” used by inmates to buy food, candy and phone privileges, according to the affidavit.
Sheriff John Whetsel called the allegations “a disappointment.”
“It's a shame that someone would throw away their law enforcement career over a few hundred bucks,” Whetsel said.
The investigation is ongoing and could result in criminal charges being filed against other jail employees, said Mark Myers, spokesman for the sheriff's office.
“If investigators believe others are involved, there is a very strong likelihood that there could be additional people charged,” he said.
Dukes, 20, a female detention officer, was fired Dec. 23, after investigators confiscated a cellphone from inmate Equan England and found a text message from Dukes with photos of her in a bikini top, according to the affidavit.
She was jailed Feb. 12 on a complaint of conspiracy to commit a felony, records show. Dukes is accused of working with Oakes to smuggle a cellphone into the jail.
Dukes, the investigator wrote, was terminated for policy violations that included an improper relationship with England.
On Jan. 19, Dukes sent a text message to Oakes that read: “From Miah-(expletive) somebody got $300 for you in 10a for a phone,” the affidavit states.
Neither Dukes nor Oakes could be reached for comment.
Three days later, investigators received information about an ongoing case involving Oakes and “numerous detention officers” smuggling in marijuana and other drugs, loose tobacco, hex tools, pills and cellular phones into the detention center and selling the items to inmates using a reloadable fund card, Cpl. Jason Bass, a sheriff's investigator, reported.
Whetsel said a hex tool — a thin, L-shaped implement — is used to unscrew screws on the jail's visitation windows.
Oakes, 20, a senior detention officer, was fired Jan. 23, the same day he was arrested on a complaint of possession of contraband in a penal institution, Myers said. Investigators recovered a noncontract cellphone and reloadable fund card from Oakes, which he was not authorized to have, the investigator wrote.
“It is common for family members and friends of inmates to pay detention officers to distribute phones and other contraband to inmates,” Bass wrote in the affidavit.
Whetsel said Dukes and Oakes received ethics training.
England is serving prison time for drug and firearms crimes. He is one of four inmates whose phone numbers and jail monikers were found on the phone confiscated from Oakes, the investigator reported.
Among the items recovered from an apartment in the 2400 block of NW 122 where Bass served a search warrant were letters from five inmates, including England. Dukes is believed to live there, Myers said.