MARION, AR (abc24.com) - Three Crittenden County jailers are locked up in their own jail, in solitary confinement. They're accused of sneaking drugs and cell phones to inmates. Quirino Franklin, Joe Jimerson and Sgt. Antonio Tillis were each issued a $50,000 bond in court.
Franklin was the only jailer of the three who was out on bond, but he was locked up immediately after court. He had outstanding warrants for a harassment charge and failure to satisfy a commitment. However, it's the dirty deeds investigators say he, Jimerson and Tillis did, that have the three in hot water.
The chief investigator for the Crittenden County Sheriff's Office, Mike Callender says, "About two weeks ago we received a tip that one inmate was using a cell phone in the jail."
An investigation uncovered two cell phones and a surprising twist to how they got inside. "The inmate had someone on the outside bring the money and goods to the jailers," Callender says, "The jailers would sneak it in to the inmate."
According to investigators the three were working together for money. "The jailers are supposed to be searched at some point in time and there's three working with each other," says Callender, "They would not search one or something and that's how it got into the jail."
Investigators believe the inmate was conducting criminal activity from the smuggled cell phone. Recorded jail conversations led investigators to the jailers.
Callender doesn't suspect anyone else is involved but is conducting a thorough investigation to be sure. "It's always disappointing when the people you work with let you down," says Callender, "This is also a security problem, this time it was a cell phone, a pack of cigarettes, what's to keep them from bringing a gun in."
Franklin and Jimerson have worked in the jail for more than a year, Tillis for more than five years. If convicted they could face up to 20 years in prison.
They are being kept in solitary confinement and if they cannot post bond they will be transferred to a jail outside the county.