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Lincoln County corrections officer arrested for allegedly smuggling contraband into the jail

An employee was recently arrested for attempting to sneak contraband into the Lincoln County Jail, according to authorities.

Demetrius Tanner, 35, of Hazlehurst, a corrections officer for the jail, is accused of  smuggling a cell phone and possibly drugs into the correctional facility, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Johnny Hall Jr. said.

Demetrius Tanner

Demetrius Tanner

“We caught him through a cell phone that was confiscated from an inmate,” he said.  “After investigating the cell phone, we found various text messages discussing contraband (drugs). We were able to trace the number back to (Tanner).”

Hall said the cell phone is the only piece of contraband that has been found, but other sources are indicating Tanner allegedly snuck drugs into the facility.

“After speaking with some more people, it was indicated that other stuff could have slipped in,” he said.

Tanner had been employed by the jail for approximately six months prior to the investigation being opened Dec. 26, Hall said. He was responsible for the care of the inmates and booking individuals as they were brought to the jail, he said.

Lincoln County is not the only place where incidents like this have occurred, Sheriff Steve Rushing said.

“It’s a constant issue that is seen on both the state and local level across the state,” he said.

Rushing said Lincoln County has dealt with similar instances involving contraband in the past, but it had been awhile.

“Over the years, I have seen (drugs) tried to be brought in everything from books to shampoo,” he said.

Tanner was released on a bond of $5,000 Dec. 27, the day he was arrested. His initial appearance will be in Lincoln County Justice Court Tuesday. 

The introduction of contraband into a correctional facility in Mississippi is a felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison, a maximum $25,000 fine, or both.

The incident involving Tanner is still under investigation by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information about a crime is asked to call Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 601-833-5251 or CrimeStoppers at 601-823-0150. Tips leading to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.