- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - An ex-jailer at the Orleans Parish Prison has been accused of smuggling cellphones and marijuana to inmates in exchange for cash.

NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1hK80PI ) Tyrell Sutherland faces a single felony conspiracy charge after prosecutors say he delivered the contraband to federal inmates three times for $200 to $300 in each instance.

Sutherland’s attorney, Frank DeSalvo, said Wednesday that his client is expected to plead guilty soon. The charge carries up to five years in prison. Sutherland is to appear in court on April 25.

“He made a stupid decision, but he’s really not a bad person,” DeSalvo said.

DeSalvo said he’s been negotiating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to resolve the matter.

Court records show Sutherland worked for the sheriff’s office from 2004 to 2008. His name came to light in the alleged conspiracy when the case was made public April 10 in a bill of information. The case was first reported by The Advocate.

The new court papers say a shakedown at the jail in 2008 produced some of the contraband that Sutherland is now accused of supplying. Federal prosecutors did not indicate when they got the case or why it is being prosecuted six years later.

A spokesman for Sheriff Marlin Gusman, in a statement, said the sheriff’s office cooperated with federal authorities. “The Sheriff’s Office has demonstrated its willingness to take action, including criminal prosecution, against offenders and staff that are involved in any contraband activities when investigations indicate that regulations, policies and/or laws have been broken,” a statement read.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com


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