Jailer jailed for smuggling cell phones to inmates

Published 2:00 pm Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Pearl River County jail correctional officer was arrested for allegedly smuggling cell phones to inmates.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier said information from an informant and investigative surveillance brought about charges of smuggling contraband into a correctional facility against former correctional officer Gregory Cole Rester, 24, of 2869 Mississippi Highway 53, Poplarville. Saucier said Rester was released from his job with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department after his arrest.

Saucier said after the department received information about the alleged crime, officers began their week long investigation. During the operation they gathered enough evidence to show Rester allegedly was delivering cell phones to inmates at the jail, at prices between $200 to $400 a cell phone. Rester was arrested on Dec. 11.

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Since inmates are not allowed to have cash in the jail, the money was paid to Rester through a complicated wire transfer system, Saucier said. Inmates are prohibited from having cell phones since the devices can be used to plan an escape.

Currently the department has evidence that at least five cell phones allegedly were brought into the jail by Rester, but the investigation is ongoing. Saucier said investigators are looking to see if he was involved in bringing other contraband, such as drugs, into the jail. So far there is no evidence to show he was.

If convicted ,Rester could face a minimum of three years or a maximum of 15 years in jail. Saucier said Rester was transported to a Lamar County Correctional facility for his safety after his arrest. Rester has since bonded out.

“People get lured in by the thought of making easy money. That overrides their common sense. When someone gets in trouble like this, it costs them a lot,” Saucier said.

Saucier said not only has Rester been arrested and lost his job but now faces felony charges. There also is the expense of court costs, legal fees and other expenses he will face.

“When they get caught, they got a lot less than what they started with,” Saucier said.