Prison guard arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle contraband

A female guard at the Arkansas Department of Corrections Varner Unit was arrested Thursday night after she allegedly tried to smuggle contraband into the prison.

Tequila M. Fitzgerald, 21, was allegedly carrying cell phones and a package containing a green vegetable substance believed to be marijuana, State Police Special Agent Huston Talley reported in a probable cause affidavit.

Talley said he was sent to Varner at about 9 p.m. after receiving information that Fitzgerald had been caught with four cell phones wrapped in clear plastic and a clear plastic bag wrapped in black tape with the green vegetable material inside the bag.

With the wrapping, Talley said the bag containing the marijuana weighed 21.8 grams and weighed 9.1 grams without the wrapping.

After the items were found in Fitzgerald’s coat, prison officials searched her vehicle and found a large plastic bag containing loose tobacco and several clear plastic bags, Talley said in the report.

The contraband was found after a female guard started to search Fitzgerald, who reportedly said the items were in her coat, and also told prison officials there was contraband in her vehicle.

Talley reported that Fitzgerald initially said an inmate at Varner had threatened to harm her family if she did not bring the items into the prison and said she had met an unknown female at Gould and received the package from her.

Fitzgerald later said a relative who had recently been released from prison gave her the items and told her to give them to the inmate, who denied having any contact with Fitzgerald or asking her to bring the contraband to him.

A $10,000 bond was set for Fitzgerald on charges of furnishing prohibited articles and she was told to come back to court Jan. 25.

Fitzgerald said she would hire her own attorney.