ATLANTA — A detention officer from the Fulton County Jail has been arrested after the sheriff said the man was smuggling in contraband for a prisoner.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with that officer soon after his arrest.
Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said Detention Officer Antione Brown was arrested at the jail by co-workers from the sheriff’s office.
Our camera rolled as he was led through the lobby area of the Fulton County Jail.
“Did you break the law?” Winne asked Brown.
“No,” Brown answered.
“Did you smuggle contraband?” Winne asked Brown.
“No,” Brown answered.
“What’s your response to allegations against you?” Winne asked Brown.
Brown didn’t respond to the question.
Sheriff’s office co-workers had arrested Brown in front of co-workers from his shift Thursday night.
“We will not allow our team members to be put at risk and anyone that does that deserves to be arrested,” Labat told Winne.
The sheriff said Brown is accused of a charge involving giving an inmate prohibited items, conspiracy to commit a felony, violation of oath by a public officer, and a charge involving use of a cellphone in committing crimes.
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“Even this moment when we arrested him, he had a cellphone on him which is against our rules and regulations,” Labat said.
The sheriff said the investigation started after a deputy sergeant found an inmate’s illegal cellphone in a jail and it contained messages between Brown and the inmate about tools to fit star-bit screws the sheriff said are used to secure light fixtures in the jail.
“Tools in the hands of an inmate in a jail can be used to create more contraband, to hide contraband, and it creates a very dangerous situation,” Labat said.
He said the texts even included a picture of a 13-piece star bit set.
Labat said Brown confessed to providing some bits from a set and to being paid $400 to provide them to the inmate.
Sheriff’s Office Lt. Col. Adam Lee said after we shot our video of Brown, investigators searched his car in the jail parking lot and found a star bit set missing some bits.
“I believe those missing tools are probably inside of our jail,” Lee said.
Lee said investigators also found a bundle of suspected tobacco in the car, which is considered a hot commodity in the jail.
“Can’t say for sure but (it was) packaged exactly what we have seen in the past,” Lee said.
“We work really hard to make sure we have the best detention officers and deputies in the state, if not the country. And when we got one bad actor that stands out like this, it harms us all,” Labat said.
Lee said investigators now have reason to believe Brown may have smuggled cellphones into the jail, which they are trying to confirm.
Lee said the bit set found in Brown’s car was missing eight bits, and according to what Brown told the sheriff’s office, the $400 was paid by a third party.
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