Crime

Indictment: Bibb deputy illegally gave inmate a cellphone

Bibb County grand jurors indicted a sheriff’s deputy Tuesday on allegations he gave a county jail inmate a cellphone and that he violated his oath of office.

Andre Pope, 24, is charged with two counts of furnishing prohibited items to inmates and two counts of violating his oath of office, according to an indictment filed in Superior Court.

The indictment alleges Pope provided a phone sometime between Oct. 22, 2014, and April 20 on at least two separate occasions.

District Attorney David Cooke said a special presentment bench warrant has been issued for Pope’s arrest.

Pope was hired in October 2014 and was assigned to the jail when he allegedly smuggled in the phones, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff David Davis said Pope has been placed on administrative leave pending termination. He last worked this past weekend.

Davis said anyone who runs a prison or a jail would be “naive” to think contraband isn’t coming into their facility. Examples of contraband include cellphones, tobacco products and drugs.

A deputy or guard often is enticed by an inmate who offers money in exchange for something being smuggled in, Davis said.

Although the Bibb County jail conducts “shakedowns” and searches of inmates’ jail cells, phones typically aren’t found near individual cells. Instead, they are hidden elsewhere, he said.

Inmates having cellphones causes disciplinary problems both inside and outside the jail, Davis said.

Someone in jail might talk with friends on the street, with someone in another part of the jail or someone held at another jail, he said. They may even arrange criminal activity, and cellphone use by inmates has led to state prison riots.

“It is a serious situation,” Davis said.

The inmate who allegedly received the phones, 22-year-old Ashley Brown, pleaded guilty to armed robbery in February 2014 and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, according to court records.

He and another man are charged with murder in the 2012 shooting death of 20-year-old Christopher Crowder outside a Waffle House restaurant on Chambers Road. The murder case is still pending against both men.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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