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Former Dallas County jailer gets 3 years probation for delivering cocaine, heroin to inmates

Man paid to take in packages by Dale Ellis | October 28, 2021 at 3:25 a.m.

A former Dallas County jailer charged in 2017 with smuggling contraband -- including cocaine and heroin -- into the jail where he worked was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to three years on probation.

Laron Williams, 42, of Thornton was indicted April 3, 2019, by a federal grand jury on one count each of conspiracy to provide a prohibited object in prison, providing or attempting to provide tobacco and marijuana to a prisoner, and providing or attempting to provide cocaine and heroin to a prisoner.

At a plea hearing July 7, 2020, before U.S. District Judge Kristine G. Baker, Williams pleaded guilty to the conspiracy count in exchange for the government's agreement to dismiss the two remaining counts.

In addition to Williams, three men being held at the jail for federal authorities -- Terry McClendon, Michael Brewer and Antonio Fowler -- were indicted on conspiracy charges, as was DeKimberol Brewer, Michael Brewer's wife. All have pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the matter.

McClendon was sentenced Sept. 2 to five years in prison on top of a five-year sentence he received for possession of a stolen firearm. Fowler, Michael Brewer and DeKimberol Brewer are awaiting sentencing.

According to court documents, McClendon approached Williams sometime in August 2017 with an offer of money for Williams to take a package containing tobacco and marijuana into the jail. On Sept. 4, 2017, Williams collected a package from DeKimberol Brewer in the parking lot of the jail that witness statements and recorded phone calls indicated contained tobacco and marijuana.

Four days later, records said McClendon asked Williams to take in a second package, this one to be delivered by Fowler's then-girlfriend in the parking lot of the jail. The next day Williams delivered the package -- wrapped in black tape and carried under a blanket -- to McClendon.

After another employee witnessed and reported the transfer, a search of the pod housing the three men turned up two packages containing about 1.6 pounds each of cocaine and heroin stashed in a pillowcase.

Although Williams admitted to knowingly taking tobacco and marijuana into the jail, he has steadfastly maintained since his arrest that he was never told that cocaine and heroin were in the second package.

Under federal sentencing statutes, Williams faced a maximum five-year prison term and a possible maximum fine of $250,000 for his part in the conspiracy. U.S. sentencing guidelines recommended a sentence ranging from six months to one year in prison. Baker said that despite the fact that his second delivery contained cocaine and heroin, Williams' ignorance of the contents favored a lower offense level than otherwise indicated.

"I don't think there's any dispute that under oath, Mr. Williams acknowledged he understood marijuana and tobacco to be an issue with respect to prohibited objects," Baker said, but she said, unlike his co-defendants, the government had failed to prove that Williams realized the second package contained anything other than more tobacco and marijuana.

Williams' attorney, Lott Rolfe IV of North Little Rock, asked Baker to consider probation for his client. He said Williams has been on pretrial release since shortly after his arrest, has held a steady job and committed no violations of his release conditions.

"I think that demonstrates to some degree that he is a good candidate for probation," Rolfe said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Peters disagreed, saying a downward variance was not appropriate given the circumstances, and asked for the maximum guideline sentence of a year in prison.

"I don't know how it gets any more serious than a prison guard introducing contraband to people who are already under indictment," Peters said. "It endangers everybody, guards and inmates."

Peters said not only had the offenses occurred within days of each other, Williams had delivered the packages both times sealed in duct tape with only McClendon's word as to the contents, which, she pointed out, omitted mention of cocaine and heroin.

"What if it was knives?" she asked. "What if it was a weapon? How would he know?"

After a nearly half-hour recess to study the matter, Baker, noting that probation was an allowable option under the guidelines and citing Williams' lack of past criminal history, sentenced him to 36 months of probation with the first eight months to be spent on home detention; to perform 100 hours community service; and to pay a $100 mandatory special assessment. She did not impose a fine, citing Williams' inability to pay.

Print Headline: Ex-jailer given probation over smuggled drugs


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