MDOC: 5 arrested after contraband investigations at 2 prisons

Visitation resuming at prison in Leakesville (Image 1)

JACKSON, Miss. –  Five people are arrested in connection with contraband items found recently at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Greene County.

Tiffany Gray, 30, of Mount Olive is charged with introduction of contraband. She was taken to the Rankin County Jail. Her name was on the package, and she acknowledged her involvement to investigators, said Sean K. Smith, director of the Corrections Investigation Division.

The other four  are facing the same charge. Officials said a foiled plan that was for delivering contraband to inmates at SMCI in an unrelated case. All four were arrested early Friday morning.

Brian Peeks, 35, Donta Shirley, 31, and Stacey Nicole Taylor, 30, all of Columbus, and Jennifer Lauren Ruth, 26, of Aberdeen, also have been charged with conspiracy to introduce contraband.

Peeks has been on parole since October for a receiving stolen property conviction, and Shirley completed a sentence in 2011 for cocaine possession. Both were convicted in Lowndes County.

The investigation leading to the four arrests started after a package, filled with wrapped bags of tobacco, was found between the security fences behind SMCI, Area II after midnight Friday.

As an investigator was examining the package, a Greene County deputy on patrol stopped a Nissan carrying Taylor and Ruth on Old Highway 24. Ruth was driving the car. She told authorities that they dropped off two men carrying backpacks on the side of the road. The women were arrested and taken to the Greene County Jail.

Peeks was arrested on Vo-Tech Road and Old Highway 24. Shirley was caught walking on Highway 57 near the prison.

Further questioning of the four revealed they had been in the area since April 29. Investigators learned that the men had taken several backpacks and a pair of bolt cutters into the woods. They left the woods and returned to the prison again Thursday night with the intention of throwing the contraband over the fence, investigators said.

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