Prison employee arrested on drug charge

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Decatur County Correctional Institute officer on drug-related charges Wednesday, Sheriff Wiley Griffin said.

Lt. Robert Wright, 53, of Bainbridge, was arrested at Cheney Griffin Park at approximately 12:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to Capt. Chip Nix, an investigator with the Sheriff’s Office.

Wright is accused of selling prescription painkillers to an informant at the park while he was on his lunch break, Nix said. Nix said that Wright was wearing his prison guard uniform and driving his personal vehicle at the time of the arrest.

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Sheriff’s deputies stopped Wright’s Jeep shortly after the alleged transaction took place and placed him under arrest for sale of a controlled substance in violation of state law. After the arrest, deputies found a package that had apparently been shipped to Wright, which contained multiple bottles of prescription painkillers, Nix said.

Wright was also charged with violation of the oath of office that each peace officer in Georgia has to take.

Griffin said Wright is not suspected of any wrongdoing at his workplace. The sheriff and DCCI Warden Elijah McCoy both said there are safeguards in place to make sure that no one can divert pills meant for inmates — whether to keep for themselves or sell — without being found out.

Those safeguards are present at both the Decatur County Jail, which is run by the Sheriff’s Office, as well as DCCI, which is part of the state prison system.

“We believe [Wright] was getting prescription pills from an outside source and selling them to the general public,” Griffin said. “We don’t think he was providing any pills to inmates.”

Nix said more charges could be pending against Wright.

McCoy said it is Georgia Department of Corrections policy to terminate any of its employees who are convicted of a drug-related offense.

“While it’s unfortunate that this incident involved a DCCI employee, we want the public to know that the incident is separate from the operation of the prison,” McCoy said. “We have taken a strong stance that drugs and alcohol will not be tolerated at DCCI.”