Jail arrest made

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MONTGOMERY — A Selma man is in the hospital here after seriously injuring himself while trying to sneak contraband into the Dallas County Jail.

James Earl Jones, 33, broke his ankle and cut himself in many places trying to escape Dallas County deputies. The deputies followed Jones, who also carried a bag of illegal items for prisoners, to the jail’s roof.

“Firefighters had to come out and get him and the deputies off the roof,” said Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman. “They put him in an ambulance. He had broken his ankle so bad you could see down to the sole of his feet. He was caught in the concertina wire on top of the jail and cut himself pretty bad, too.”

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Concertina wire is a type of barbed wire or razor wire formed in large coils which can be expanded like the musical instrument by the same name.

Jones was transported to Vaughan Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and sent onto Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery.

Authorities said Tuesday Jones had undergone surgery for the injury suffered to his foot.

Chief Deputy Randy Pugh said deputies have run security checks around the jail nearly every night. This is the second time in a week deputies have recovered contraband intended for detainees inside the jail.

“We’ve had reports of somebody out there every night this week,” Pugh said.

On Monday deputies recovered seven small plastic bags of marijuana, five packages of Newport cigarettes, two cell phones and chargers, two 16.9-ounce-bottles of gin, 13 small bottles of gin, nine packages of Buglar tobacco and a package of Swisher Sweet cigars.

Authorities estimate those making the “drops” of illegal items to prisoners earn from $75 to $100 per delivery. The method is different each time. Those making the drops leave bag in the yard, hoping a prisoner will get to it first or will try to stuff the bag through a broken window or drop anywhere around the grounds.

Jones is familiar with the jail and its operations. He has a long arrest history dating back to 2001 that includes charges of first-degree robbery( 2001), possession of a controlled substance (2005), giving a false name to an officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, third-degree theft of property (2003) and criminal trespass (2004). The first-degree robbery charge was dismissed.

Court records show he has pleaded guilty to the possession of drug paraphernalia and giving a false name to a police officer.

In 2008 Jones was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree theft of property and resisting arrest.

In January Jones was arrested and charged with third-degree theft of property, but that case has yet to go to court.

Pugh said the sheriff’s department expects to present the case to the grand jury by the time Jones recovers from his injuries.

About a week ago, on a similar security check deputies saw a man wearing dark clothing jump the fence. The deputies recovered the bag of contraband that included a box of food (chicken, hamburger Ramen Noodles), 11 bags of marijuana, five packs of Top rolling papers, 30 bags of Buglar tobacco, 16 packages of Newport cigarettes, six bottles of gin, 25 bags of Kool-Aid, one small bag of cocaine, four cellphones, three cellphone chargers, one set of cellphone ear plugs, one MP3 player, four cigarette lighters, a bag of assorted candy and a bag of assorted cigars.

Investigator Mike Grantham said outside attempts to get contraband to prisoners have increased since the sheriff’s department cracked down on those items coming from correctional officers.

On May 1, a stakeout by investigators resulted in the arrest of Jonathan Alexander, 57, of 2954 Landline Road, Selma. He was charged with promoting prison contraband, second-degree. Alexander was a correctional officer from January 2009 until his arrest. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Thursday.