Police hold jail guard

Officer accused of smuggling heroin to four inmates

Drugs in cleaning bucket

Former prisoner's suspicion leads

January 18, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A correctional officer at the Carroll County Detention Center was arrested yesterday - accused of smuggling heroin in a cleaning bucket to four jail inmates during the past two months in exchange for cocaine for his own use, according to county law enforcement officials.

Jeffrey Ronald Meyers, 24, of the 200 block E. Green St. in Westminster joined the staff Nov. 9 after an honorable military discharge, Sheriff Kenneth L. Tregoning said at a news conference yesterday.

Meyers is accused of supplying four inmates with heroin that he received from a source in Carroll and from one of the inmates' mothers, who lives in Harford County. The mother also supplied him with the cocaine, according to Tregoning and members of the Carroll County Drug Task Force.

The deputy has been fired and authorities have found no indication of involvement by other employees, Tregoning said.

Heroin was taken in at least four times: 11 small vials of about 1/10th of a gram and each worth $10 to $20 on the street, according to court documents.

Meyers has been charged with delivering heroin to persons in confinement, with conspiring separately with three female inmates, and with distributing narcotics - a felony, said Carroll County States Attorney Jerry F. Barnes.

Ex-inmate's suspicion

The investigation began after a former inmate told a drug counselor at the jail that he suspected smuggling, said Tregoning. According to charging documents, the task force began its investigation Jan. 4.

During the investigation, three female inmates claimed that Meyers had been providing them with heroin. Each tested positive for opiates in a urinalysis administered Sunday, Tregoning said.

A District Court judge issued a search warrant Tuesday for Meyers' home and vehicle, which was executed that evening. No drugs were found, Tregoning said.

After waving his Miranda rights, Meyers acknowledged to authorities that he had been taking heroin into the detention facility in exchange for cocaine, according to court papers.

Such cases rare in Carroll

It was the first time they could recall that an officer has been charged with smuggling drugs, although contraband is intercepted almost every day, usually in the mail, said Tregoning and Warden George D. Hardinger. A correctional officer was caught about 15 years ago smuggling alcohol to prisoners.

Officers are tested for drugs before they are hired and randomly during their employment, they said. Polygraphs might be considered for future hires.

Meyers was in isolation yesterday at the jail at 100 N. Court St., but Tregoning said he would be moved to another facility if he does not make bail.

A District Court commissioner set bail at $50,000 for Meyers, and a bail review was set for 11 a.m. today in District Court.

The possible maximum penalties upon conviction range from 20 years and a $25,000 on the felony drug-distribution charge, to three years and a $1,000 fine on each of the other four charges: delivering drugs to a person in confinement, and three conspiracy charges. The investigation is continuing, Barnes said.

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