A Pontotoc County Justice Center employee was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly agreed to smuggle drugs into the jail.
The jailer, Robert Dickerson, 35, Ada, was under investigation already for allegedly sneaking items into the jail. A sting was set up by drug taskforce officers, at which time Dickerson was provided with drugs as a way of determining if he would smuggle them into the jail, according to Sheriff John Christian.
An inmate alerted authorities to Dickerson’s alleged smuggling of cigarettes and other items to him and possibly other inmates. Christian began an investigation to make sure the inmate wasn’t lying to get an employee in trouble.
“I started watching when (Dickerson) was working and sure enough he was having communication with this inmate privately and away from other people out of the pod and letting the inmate use the office phone rather than inmate phones.”
Christian said he captured an instance on video in which Dickerson handed something to the inmate.
“We actually got the inmate to assist in the investigation and assist in the process,” Christian said. “We gave him information as far as phone numbers to give to Robert and told him what to say.”
Authorities met with Assistant District Attorney Jim Tillison with information and evidence gathered during the investigation. The sting was set up to see if Dickerson would actually bring something into the jail, Christian said.
After several days, Dickerson reportedly sent phone texts to numbers provided by the inmate under the impression they were friends or family, but were actually undercover agents.
“He was (informed) he would be provided with two bags of marijuana with a quantity of methamphetamine,” Christian said. “Also, the inmate told (Dickerson) that he had some guns here in Ada and if he would sell them, he’d halve the profits with him.”
The undercover agents set up a time to meet at a convenience store in Byng Tuesday night. Dickerson was told to take a bag of drugs to sell and to smuggle the other bag to the inmate.
“The deal with the guns was he was to take the guns and sell them, meet with our undercover officer and give him half the money,” Christian said. “As soon as (he agreed), we weren’t going to allow him to take the drugs into the jai, so with the assistance of task force agents and Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse officers, we closed in on him.”
Dickerson was arrested in the parking lot on suspicion of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, possession of CDS within 1,000 feet of a church and use of a telecommunication device during the commission of a felony.
Dickerson is being held in protective custody away from other inmates. He was employed at the jail from April 2009 until his arrest.
Christian said he won’t stand for anyone, employee or otherwise, breaking the law.
“People get into financial binds for whatever reason and may feel they need to do something and circumstances change and someone that you trusted at one time may change over a period of time and apparently that’s what happened in this case,” he said.