News Briefs

Kansas corrections officer charged with trafficking meth into Larned

By: - August 31, 2023 10:29 am

At Larned, a corrections officer was caught with more than 60 grams of methamphetamine. (Max McCoy/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — A corrections officer has been arrested and charged with drug trafficking in Larned State Correctional Facility.  Following the arrest, a Kansas Department of Corrections spokesperson warned other staff members away from drug distribution. 

The facility conducted an all-staff search Aug. 13 after receiving a tip-off from an investigation unit. The investigation found more than 60 grams of methamphetamine and a bag of tobacco on the corrections officer in question. 

Jessie Smith, 51, was charged on two counts, possession with intent to distribute and trafficking contraband in a correctional facility by an employee, according to Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett. If convicted of the charges, he faces around seven to 12 years in prison.

KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda stressed the department had a “zero tolerance” policy for drug smuggling in a recap of the arrest. 

“Aside from breaking the law, trafficking of drugs in a correctional facility by staff, residents, or others, compromises the safety of everyone,” Zmuda said in a Aug. 28 news release. “We will use every resource available to us to stop the traffic of illegal drugs in our facilities, catch the perpetrators, and prosecute them to the fullest.” 

Zmuda urged staff members who might be planning similar actions to re-evaluate. 

“I recognize that staff introducing drugs into facilities is not a common occurrence,” Zmuda said. “That said, even one or two staff engaging in such activity can have a detrimental impact at a facility. If you are a staff member reading this message and have been compromised and/or are considering introducing contraband into our facilities at a point in the future I urge you to stop and reconsider.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.