ONE ARREST MADE FOR ATTEMPTING TO INTRODUCE CONTRABAND INTO JAIL; OTHER ARRESTS ANTICIPATED
Mary V. Ward
The Sheriff's Office has arrested a Mountain Home woman, 60 year old MARY V. WARD, on two felony charges following an investigation that was undertaken when it was discovered that there had been an attempt to introduce contraband into the Detention Center.
On Sunday, September 12th at approximately 9:00 PM, a jailer was making a perimeter check around the outside of the Detention Center when he found a wrapped up package of tobacco lying on the ground near the exterior wall of the "B Pod" housing unit. The jailer heard a noise in the area outside of the fence and saw a person in the bushes. While the jailer called for deputies to respond behind the fence, he saw the person flee from the scene. This person was not found that evening.
Supervisors began reviewing camera footage of the outside area in question. At approximately 5:16 PM on camera playback they saw a man climb up from the drainage ditch behind the detention center and walk up to the fence. After looking around, this person left, only to return moments later at 5:21 PM with a bag in his hand, which he tossed over the fence and inside the perimeter of the Detention Center, and he was seen to be attempting to use a tree limb to retrieve something from inside the fenced area.
After the contraband had been found, jailers made an inspection of the interior of "B Pod". They found that inmates had managed to climb up into the ceiling above the shower room area and had pushed a broomstick with twisted line attached to the end that was made out of a plastic trash bag through a small ventilation hole to the outside. The purpose of doing this was to use the line to "fish" for the contraband that the person behind the fence had brought and trying to get it back into the building through this small ventilation hole.
On Monday, September 13th, Sheriff's Investigators began gathering evidence, including playing back and listening to calls that inmates in "B Pod" had placed over the inmate phone system. Using evidence gathered from these phone calls, Investigators were able to identify the suspects involved, one of which was MARY V. WARD, whose grandson is an inmate in the Detention Center and is housed in "B Pod". Evidence indicated that MARY WARD had been intricately involved in arranging the contraband drop and was an active participant by way of facilitating the incident via phone communication with her grandson in "B Pod". Evidence also indicated that additional drops of other substances were being planned and were to be carried out later.
MARY WARD came to the Sheriff's Office, but she refused to answer questions or make a statement. She was subsequently arrested and booked into the Baxter County Detention Center on charges of:
Furnishing Prohibited Articles - Felony
Criminal Conspiracy - Felony
MARY WARD was released from custody after posting $25,000 bond. She will appear before the Circuit Court to answer on September 23rd.
Additional people are expected to be charged with crimes related to this incident, including persons who are currently incarcerated in the Detention Center on other non-related charges. The man on the outside of the fence has since been identified, and a warrant is in the process of being issued for his arrest. Additional information will be released once charges have been procured against additional participants.
/s/ John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff