Michigan Corrections Officer Charged in Drug Smuggling Operation

October 4th, 2023 Legal & Crime
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A Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) officer, identified as Kernef D. Jackson, has been slapped with 13 criminal charges over an alleged contraband smuggling operation.

In July 2022, suspicions arose within the MDOC about possible contraband smuggling at the St. Louis Correctional Facility, Gratiot County. Acting on these suspicions, they reached out to the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (BAYANET) for assistance. "Our team conducted extensive intelligence work, uncovering evidence of attempts to introduce contraband, including marijuana, into the facility. Officer Jackson emerged as a key player in this scheme," stated MDOC spokesperson Kyle Kaminski.

The investigation took a pivotal turn on August 7th this year, when Jackson, 61, was pulled over in Saginaw, his hometown, post a meeting with a yet-to-be-arraigned female codefendant. A search of his vehicle yielded methamphetamine, marijuana, and opioids. Lt. Kimberly Vetter of the Michigan State Police believes that Jackson intended to distribute these drugs among inmates.

Following his arrest, Jackson spent two nights behind bars. He subsequently appeared for arraignment on September 29th before Saginaw County District Judge A.T. Frank. The charges include four counts of felony firearm possession, eight counts pertaining to the trafficking of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and opioids, and a count of maintaining a drug house, with four of these offenses potentially leading to 20-year prison sentences.

An incarcerated 43-year-old man at the St. Louis prison, serving a term for a second-degree murder conviction from Wayne County, and the aforementioned female civilian, are also implicated as codefendants in this case.

Reacting swiftly to Jackson's arrest, the MDOC suspended him without pay. Jackson has been an MDOC employee since October 2000, Kaminski informed.

Judge Frank set Jackson free on a $100,000 personal recognizance bond, mandating the use of a GPS tether. The case progresses with Jackson's preliminary examination slated for 3:30 p.m., October 18th.

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