Another Corrections Officer Arrested for Smuggling Drugs, Phones into Alabama Prison

UNION SPRINGS, AL (WKRG) — An Alabama correctional officer has been arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband into Bullock Correctional Facility.

The Alabama Department of Corrections has announced the arrest of Vintarius Cardel Tarver, 24, of Union Springs on multiple charges. According to the DOC, officials searched Tarver when he reported to work on Sunday afternoon and found cellphones and cellphone chargers, 63 grams of marijuana, 29 grams of synthetic cannabinoids, 30 grams of Flakka, and 84 Xanax pills.

News 5 aired a special report in 2016 on smartphones becoming the most valuable contraband being smuggled into prisons. Inmates video called News 5, saying the guards were the biggest sellers.

The officer was taken to the Bullock County Jail and booked for promoting contraband in a state prison, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and using his position for personal gain.

As News 5 reported in May, five correctional officers at Staton Prison in Elmore were arrested for smuggling contraband to inmates in a bribery scheme used for personal gain. In return for giving inmates contraband such as drugs and cellphones, investigators found that the inmates were using the cellphones to illegally purchase items for the officers in exchange for contraband.

      NEWS 5 SPECIAL REPORT: Holman Inmates Reveal How Smartphones Are Smuggled Into Alabama Prisons

An inmate at Holman Prison speaks to News 5’s J.B. Biunno for our “Smartphones in Prison” special report.

As News 5 uncovered in a special report “Smartphones in Prison” in 2016, multiple inmates at Holman Prison in Atmore told News 5’s J.B. Biunno through video calls that correctional officers were selling smartphones to inmates for top-dollar. The correctional officers, according to the inmates, justify the cellular contraband by viewing it as a way to “keep the prison population busy” and limit violence.

News 5 was told the average price for a smartphone behind prison walls was $500, with the price for chargers averaging $150.

Tarver, who had been with the Department of Corrections since November 2015, resigned from his position following his arrest.

 

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