CHARLESTON - A prison guard is charged with two felonies after being after being arrested this weekend for his part in a drug distribution operation at the Southeast Correction Center.
J.E. Gray, 33, of Clarkton was arrested on a warrant Sunday for events occurring Saturday. He remains in custody at the Mississippi County Detention Center on $50,000 bond.
Gray is charged with possession of marijuana with intention to distribute, a class B felony; and possession of a controlled substance on the premises of a correctional center, a class D felony. He could face 5 to 15 years if convicted on the first charge and 1 to 4 years if convicted on the class D felony.
"These charges resulted from an investigation by the Southeast Correctional Center, Sikeston DPS and Charleston DPS," said Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Raffety. "Sikeston is involved because there were some telephone conversations into and out of Southeast Correctional Center involving people within the city of Sikeston. The investigation continues and at this point working with all three of these organizations we expect additional arrests. It is clear that this corrections officer was not working alone."
Raffety said her comment should not be taken as an implication that other prison guards are involved. "But there are definitely other people involved," she said. "We have information that this activity has been going on since the summer of 2002."
Courtne Turner, 26, of Sikeston, was charged by the Scott County prosecutor's office with possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute, a class B felony.
She was arrested Wednesday and is being held in the Scott County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
"We did work closely with local law enforcement on this investigation - this was a combined effort," confirmed John Fougere, spokesperson for the DOC. "This officer is no longer working there - he has resigned."
Gray was appointed a public defender during a court appearance Wednesday and is slated to appear Feb. 4 for his preliminary hearing.
If anybody has additional this information regarding the crime they should call investigator Steve Julian at SECC, Lt. Mark Crocker at Sikeston DPS or Sgt. Anthony Moody at the Charleston DPS.