NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Two Oklahoma County jailers arrested in smuggling investigation

The Oklahoma County Jail. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]
The Oklahoma County Jail. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman]

Two Oklahoma County detention officers have been arrested and fired after an investigation into the smuggling of drugs, cellphones and other contraband into jail inmates.

Smith Akhigbe, 31, of Oklahoma City, was arrested Saturday and Keoni Damas, 23, of Midwest City, was arrested Tuesday, the jail announced in a news release.

The arrests are another embarrassment for a trust that took over operation of the overcrowded 13-story facility on July 1.

Backers had said the trust would improve jail conditions. Instead the trust has faced many of the same problems that sheriffs have dealt with since the jail opened in 1991 as well as new ones arising from the pandemic.

Akhigbe admitted to regularly being paid $500 per package he delivered to the jail, according to his arrest affidavit. He admitted being paid "a few thousand dollars" to smuggle in several packages Saturday. He said he concealed the packages in a mattress pad before passing the contraband to inmates.

Seized Saturday were several cellphones, approximately 108 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and a large amount of tobacco, according to the arrest affidavit. He abandoned his post Saturday after the smuggling was discovered, according to the affidavit.

Damas was arrested after an informant reported he smuggled marijuana, liquor and tobacco to inmates in a mop bucket, according to his arrest affidavit. The informant reported Damas told him "it cost 1,500 to bring a package to me and he only takes cash."

Investigators reported finding marijuana in Damas' car in the employee parking lot.

Damas at first denied all allegations but said after the marijuana was found that the contraband had been left on his porch. He refused to identify who the package was for because he said he was afraid of the inmate, according to the affidavit.

Nolan Clay

Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,... Read more ›