Nine Arrested In 'Operation Rooftop Smuggler'

Nine Arrested In 'Operation Rooftop Smuggler'

Memphis Police busted a simple but clever contraband ring inside the Shelby County Penal Farm.
MEMPHIS, TN – Memphis Police busted a simple but clever contraband ring inside the Shelby County Penal Farm. They broke up a pipeline siphoning drugs, cell phones and other forbidden items into the facility near Shelby Farms. A total of nine people are charged right now.

The investigation is called: Operation Rooftop Smuggler. Police say people outside the penal farm would bundle up the contraband inside things like a Nerf football and literally throw it over the security fence onto the rooftop of the penal farm, where inmates would pick it up.

“Over 3 pounds of marijuana, Vicodin pills, 403 packs of Kite Tobacco, an illegal stimulant, 20 cigars, cigarettes, 24 cellular phones, MP3 players, 5 big razor blades, 4 big razors,” MPD Dir. Larry Godwin says this was the kind of contraband being smuggled into the penal farm.

“Anything they could get it in, throw it over on the roof and then they would retrieve it,” said Dir. Godwin.

Prosecutors say Anthony Peoples and his girlfriend Brenda Curtis coordinated the ring.

“We're assuming it's due to his connections on the inside and out,” said MPD Col. Arley Knight. “He had a drug racket going, and he was fairly successful at it.”

They're in custody, along with five others, some were on the outside and some on the inside, all accused of getting contraband behind prison walls. Two more are on the run.

Police also investigated employees at the penal farm. None were charged, but two resigned as a result of the investigation. One was a guard and the other worked serving inmates food.

“They were questioned, but there wasn't any evidence to point toward any sort of charges,” said Dir. Godwin.

“Any type of contraband being introduced to our facility will not be tolerated,” said Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham. “And we'll do all we can to prevent it.”

While contraband may be prohibited, it's difficult to control.

“It's just a fact of life in a prison facility,” said Shelby County CAO Harvey Kennedy. “Contraband's going to make its way in.”

Of the nine people indicted in Operation Rooftop Smuggler, two were former inmates and five were current inmates and two had never been behind bars at the penal farm.

Nine people face a total of 30 felony charges, including taking contraband into a prison and possession of drugs with intent to deliver.
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