Two correctional officers and two visitors to state prisons have been arrested on charges related to illegal contraband, the Alabama Department of Corrections announced Wednesday.
Basic correctional officer Terrence Tolbert, 39, of Brewton, was arrested on Feb. 24 after an investigation into contraband at Fountain Correctional Facility, according to ADOC’s press release Wednesday.
“The agent discovered that Officer Tolbert was in possession of marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, weapons, electronics, and alcohol,” the statement reads.
Tolbert was charged with trafficking, promoting prison contraband, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana. He immediately resigned after being arrested, according to the release.
Correctional cubical officer Tenishia Michelle Witherspoon, 32, of Birmingham, was arrested on Feb. 27 after a K-9 unit alerted to her vehicle during a contraband search in the parking lot at the Donaldson Correctional Facility.
“Witherspoon is facing unlawful possession of marijuana charges and has resigned her position with the Department,” the statement reads.
Additionally, two visitors to Tutwiler prison were arrested when a police dog alerted to their vehicle and officers found approximately one ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the release.
Jeffery Burton of Louisville, Kentucky, and Alicia Keaton of Benton, Kentucky, were both arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.
ADOC also released more information Wednesday on a Feb. 25 contraband raid of Easterling prison, which the release states produced “120 makeshift weapons, 42 contraband cell phones, 482 grams of synthetic drugs, and 172 pills or suboxone strips.”
“The operation, which took place over roughly nine hours, was the eighth conducted by the ADOC’s Operations Division and Law Enforcement Services Division (LESD) since early 2019,” the release states.
ADOC has struggled to control drugs inside prisons, and as many as seven incarcerated men likely died from drug overdoses in 2019, according to news accounts and ADOC statistics. Antonio Bell died of a likely overdose at Holman prison on Jan. 9.
“The success of the Operation Restore Order at Easterling Correctional Facility, in addition to several arrests made, reinforces my Department’s unwavering commitment to eliminating illegal contraband and rooting out the sources of its entry into our facilities,” said ADOC commissioner Jeff Dunn in a statement. “The success of these crucial, ongoing operations is dependent upon collaborative preparation and effective execution by the Department’s staff and partnering law enforcement agencies across the state. I am thankful for their hard work and dedication.”
“Let this serve as a stern warning to anyone considering conspiring with inmates to introduce contraband into our facilities – you will be discovered, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” added Dunn. “In addition to being illegal, the introduction of contraband by internal or external parties is in direct conflict with my Department’s commitment to reducing recidivism and promoting rehabilitation, and we will continue to take decisive and swift action against those responsible in order to promote the well-being and safety of our staff and inmates.”
ADOC asks that the public contact ADOC’s Law Enforcement Services Division at 1-866-293-7799 with information that may lead to the arrest of anyone attempting to introduce illegal contraband into state prisons. The public may also report suspicious activity by going to the ADOC Website at http://www.doc.alabama.gov/investigationrequest.