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Jailer charged with smuggling

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Rocky Mount Telegram

Thursday, July 19, 2018

ROCKY MOUNT — A Nash County jailer on Tuesday traded in his all-black detention officer uniform for an orange inmate jumpsuit.

Quintin Cardel Higgs, 26, of Biltmore Place in Rocky Mount, was charged with eight counts of giving or selling a cellphone or electronic device to an inmate at the Nash County Detention Center.

Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said it was emotionally painful to see Higgs throw his life away.

“I’m going to be absolutely honest: It hurt to see him go from a uniform to an orange jumpsuit,” Stone said.

The first Stone heard about Higgs' alleged activities came from other detention officers, who Stone said were living up to their professional, moral and ethical obligations.

The Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Division began its probe into Higgs' alleged crimes in April, about six months after he was hired in October 2017, said Chief Deputy Brandon Medina.

“During the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office gained information and found evidence Higgs was smuggling with the intent to provide cellphones to at least eight inmates,” Medina said, adding that at least some of the phones made it into the hands of inmates.

Upon his arrest, Higgs was immediately terminated by Stone, who said he expects the highest ethical standards of employees and criminal activity will never be tolerated.

“Our own office conducted the investigation and arrested the jailer,” Stone said. “It's disappointing to me that someone would carry a badge and commit a crime.”

Stone said several news stories in recent weeks — including the arrest of a federal prison guard from Rocky Mount — prove that detention officers at the federal, state and local levels need better training and better pay.

“We've got to pay better so we can get more professional detention officers,” Stone said.

Higgs received a $175,000 secured bond and was sent to a detention center in a neighboring county.

His first court appearance is set for today in state District Court in Nashville. 

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