By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Four people, including a Brewton man who worked as an officer at Fountain Correctional Facility, were arrested recently by Alabama Department of Corrections investigators on charges of promoting prison contraband.
According to a press release issued by state corrections officials, Correctional Officer Tarrence Dramon Tolbert, 39, of Brewton, was arrested February 24 after an ADOC Law Enforcement Services Division agent investigated an allegation of contraband possession at Fountain Correctional Facility.
Tolbert was found to be in possession of marijuana, crystal methamphetamine, weapons, electronics and alcohol. He was arrested on charges of trafficking, promoting prison contraband, possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.
Tolbert, who immediately resigned his position, was booked into the Escambia County Detention Center. An employee of the jail’s booking and release division reported early this week that Tolbert was released on a $30,000 bond.
Tenishia Michelle Witherspoon, 32, of Birmingham, a Correctional Cubicle Operator at Donaldson Correctional Facility, near Bessemer, was arrested February 27 after an ADOC canine alerted on her vehicle during a contraband interdiction detail in the prison parking lot.
Witherspoon, who also resigned her position, is facing a charge of unlawful possession of marijuana.
Also, two Kentucky residents, Jeffery Burton and Alicia Keaton (ages not provided), were arrested February 22 at Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka after a violation of ADOC’s zero-tolerance drug policy. Each was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after a canine alerted on a vehicle driven by Burton. A search of the vehicle turned up about an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
ADOC Commissioner Jeff Dunn said the arrests should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider introducing contraband into the state prison system.
“Let this serve as a stern warning to anyone considering conspiring with inmates to introduce contraband into our facilities,” Dunn said. “You will be discovered, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 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.”
ADOC also released the results of a February 25 prison raid, Operation Restore Order, that was launched about 4 a.m. that day at Easterling Correctional Facility in Clio. More than 200 law enforcement officials from ADOC and assisting agencies took part in the raid.
The officers seized 120 makeshift weapons, 42 contraband cell phones, 482 grams of synthetic drugs and 172 pills or suboxone strips. The operation was the eighth conducted by ADOC since early 2019.