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Baxter County, Ark. deputies arrest woman for attempting to bring contraband into the jail

Mary V. Ward, 60 faces a charge of furnishing prohibited articles.
Mary V. Ward, 60 faces a charge of furnishing prohibited articles.(KY3)
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 7:16 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (KY3) - Baxter County deputies arrested a woman for attempting to bring contraband into the jail.

Mary V. Ward, 60 faces a charge of furnishing prohibited articles. A judge set bond at $25,000.

On Sunday September 12, a jailer was making a perimeter check around the outside of the Baxter County Detention Center when he found a wrapped up package of tobacco lying on the ground near the exterior wall of the “B Pod” housing unit. The jailer heard a noise in the area outside of the fence and saw a person in the bushes. While the jailer called for deputies to respond behind the fence, he saw the person flee from the scene. This person was not found that evening.

Supervisors began reviewing camera footage of the outside area in question. At approximately 5:16 PM on camera playback they saw a man climb up from the drainage ditch behind the detention center and walk up to the fence. After looking around, this person left, only to return moments later at 5:21 PM with a bag in his hand, which he tossed over the fence and inside the perimeter of the detention center, and he was seen to be attempting to use a tree limb to retrieve something from inside the fenced area.

After the contraband had been found, jailers made an inspection of the interior of “B Pod”. They found inmates managed to climb up into the ceiling above the shower room area and had pushed a broomstick with twisted line attached to the end that was made out of a plastic trash bag through a small ventilation hole to the outside. The purpose of doing this was to use the line to “fish” for the contraband that the person behind the fence had brought and trying to get it back into the building through this small ventilation hole.

On Monday, September 13, Investigators began gathering evidence, including playing back and listening to calls that inmates in “B Pod” had placed over the inmate phone system. Using evidence gathered from these phone calls, Investigators were able to identify the suspects involved, one of which they say was Ward, whose grandson is an inmate. Investigators say evidence indicated that Ward had been intricately involved in arranging the contraband drop and was an active participant by way of facilitating the incident via phone communication with her grandson in “B Pod”.

Investigators expect more to be charged in this case.

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