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Investigators say Mobile County corrections officer tried to smuggle handcuff key into Metro to sell

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 20, 2022 at 5:46 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Mobile County corrections officer Fredrick Johnson has been fired after he was caught trying to smuggle contraband into the Mobile County Metro Jail.

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EARLIER STORY:

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Metro jail leaders say corrections officer Fredrick Johnson was caught red-handed trying to smuggle illegal contraband like phone chargers into Metro, but one of those items, in particular, has them concerned.

Instead of being on the job patrolling Metro Jail, Johnson is now a temporary resident.

The corrections officer turned accused criminal is facing 21 charges for trying to bring banned items into the jail.

“If we can make an example out of him then that’s exactly what we intend to do because he disrespected his fellow employees and put their lives at risk,” said Sheriff Sam Cochran.

Investigators say Johnson tried to smuggle phone chargers, a camera, a camera watch, and flash drives with porn into the jail on Tuesday. The illegal items were discovered during a random bag check as Johnson showed up for work.

Sheriff Cochran showed off the nearly two dozen items including what he is most concerned about, a handcuff key.

“He’s selling that handcuff key to somebody that can then use it to escape and or harm one of our other employees so we’re just outraged over his behavior,” he said.

In the last year, Metro has seen an increase in contraband with construction on the jail underway.

Metro says prisoners have broken cell windows and had people on the outside pass items to them.

Johnson’s case is the first time in years that a Mobile County Corrections Officer was found to be breaking the law.

“What we always have to remember is the human factor as long as we are recruiting individuals from the human race human beings are going to make emotional decisions, not always logical decisions,” said Warden Trey Oliver.

Smuggling contraband into any jail, including Metro, is big business.

The Sheriff says phone charges can fetch hundreds of dollars. Jail leaders are glad the system worked and the random bag checks proved effective.

“In this case, this individual was compromised for whatever reason, whether it was money or for some other reason he certainly was compromised and betrayed all of his fellow employees,” Cochran said.

To try and make it more difficult to get banned items into the jail they are now handing out clear bags to employees to use when they come to work, along with some other measures they will be implemented in the coming weeks and months.

Johnson is set to have a bond hearing on Thursday.

A pre-disciplinary hearing is also expected to take place Thursday which will decide whether he keeps his job.

Johnson began working with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office as a corrections officer in 2019.

UPDATE: Johnson was released from jail after posting a bond of $33,000.

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