D.C. jail guard accused of smuggling drugs for inmates

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Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe

A D.C. jail corrections officer who allegedly was found with marijuana inside his locker was smuggling the contraband for an inmate, according to new court documents.

Jonathan Womble was arrested last month after a police dog detected the scent of marijuana inside the correction officer's locker while the dog's handler was using the restroom, and prosecutors say Womble was smuggling more than pot into the jail.

Documents unsealed in federal court last week show how the drugs allegedly were smuggled into the D.C. jail at 1901 D St. SE.

On the outside of the jail was Joel Tillery, a 31-year-old Greenbelt man who packaged the drugs and handed them off to Womble, according to court documents.

Tillery kept in phone contact with an unnamed inmate who said he was selling the drugs for about $100 to $150 a gram, and Womble. The inmate is not identified in the charging document except by his nickname, "Freaky."

Between Jan. 20 and Jan. 27, more than 30 calls were placed between Womble's phone and the phone used by Tillery, court records state.

On Jan. 29, Tillery told the inmate in a recorded jail conversation that the handoff was successful.

An hour later, video footage showed a correction officer escorting the inmate into a shower, where there are no video cameras.

Thirty-minutes later, Womble was seen on the video walking down the hall to shower. Womble entered the shower, outside the view of the camera, and then the two emerged and Womble escorted the inmate back to his cell.

In a recorded telephone conversation two hours later, authorities said, the inmate indicated to Tillery that the handoff was successful, saying, "Touchdown."

Tillery was arrested on Friday and charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin.

This is not Tillery's first arrest. In 2007, he was acquitted of fatally shooting a college student outside a Northeast Washington nightclub.

Womble is the most recent corrections officer at the D.C. jail to face criminal charges.

Two former D.C. corrections officers pleaded guilty to smuggling contraband into the jail in separate stings.

Daishawn Goodson, 26, and April Johnston, 42, have both admitted to smuggling computer equipment into the jail.

In January, Lewis Jackson, who worked as a doctor at the D.C. jail, pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to sexually abusing an inmate at the jail in 2008.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner