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Three Georgia deputies — one in Troup County and two in Barrow County — have been arrested and charged after allegedly smuggling contraband into jails in the state in two unconnected cases, according to authorities.
Steven Michael Crowder, 23, had been working as a detention officer with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office since January. He is accused of bringing narcotics into the Troup County Jail and selling them to multiple inmates for months, the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said.
An investigation was launched about a month ago after officials were alerted of allegations that Crowder may have been smuggling drugs into the jail and was being compensated through a third party. The sheriff’s office said they believe he was the only officer involved.
Crowder now faces four counts of violation of oath by a public officer, four counts of items prohibited for possession by inmates and one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He could face anywhere from one to 25 years in prison.
“Every person who joins our staff, is held to a higher standard and I personally tell each of them the consequences they will face should they make the choice to bring contraband in the jail or participate in criminal behavior,” Troup County Sheriff James Woodruff said in a news release.
The inmates who were provided the drugs will also face charges once that part of the investigation is completed.
Additionally, two deputies with the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office — 21-year-old Hunter Lewis Perkins and 28-year-old Xavier Jamal McWhortor — turned themselves in after they had smuggled contraband into the Barrow County Jail.
They had turned themselves in to the Barrow County Detention Center. The Barrow County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to investigate.
“We moved very quickly on this and immediately contacted the GBI,” Sheriff Jud Smith wrote in a statement. “The trust that exists between our office and the community is very important to all of us at the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office. When someone violates that trust, we will act swiftly.”
Both men are charged with bribery, trading with inmates without consent of the warden or superintendent, items prohibited for possession by inmates and violation of oath of a public officer.
The investigation is ongoing, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office said.