Over the last few months, sources at the Cuyahoga County Jail have been telling Scene of an uptick in inmates caught with heroin and other drugs. It was curious to them, what with new body scanners installed last year and protocols to prevent illegal substances from entering the facility, that nearly a dozen inmates were cited for drug possession since December. One or two, sure. It happens despite best practices and protocols, especially in a facility that is understaffed. But this wasn't a normal number, and it wasn't just drugs. Hell, one inmate was even found with a cell phone and a solar-powered charger.
Could there be an Orange is the New Black kind of operation going on involving guards, we asked?
Sources were doubtful. It was simply too risky and dangerous and preposterous for a guard to be breaking the law to carry drugs in. No one would be dumb enough.
Well, one guard was.
43-year-old County jail corrections officer Kamara Austin was arrested this week and is now a resident in the very jail he had worked at. (He was immediately placed on unpaid leave by the county, of course.) Prosecutors say Austin smuggled 16 grams of heroin and a bevy of as-of-yet unidentified pills into the facility for an inmate named Anthony Lett. Who's that? Lett is awaiting trial for allegedly raping a woman and stealing guns.
For his part, Austin, who had been at the jail since 1998, was arrested in a parking lot of a grocery store on Miles Avenue. Cops found heroin and pills in the car.
He's scheduled to appear in court on Friday, according to Cleveland.com
, and his bond has been set at $250,000.