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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Marion detention deputy smuggles cellphone, cigarettes into jail

A 35-year-old Marion County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy was arrested after he was accused of sneaking contraband into the jail.

On Monday, April 24, MCSO detention deputies discovered a cellphone, cigarettes, and lighters in a cell at the Marion County Jail. Over the next several weeks, jail investigators uncovered evidence that detention deputy Xavier Taylor had conspired with an inmate to bring contraband into the jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

The arrest report stated that Taylor worked his normal shift on Monday, May 15. The following morning, at approximately 6 a.m., he was taken into custody shortly after he left the jail.

Taylor was transported to the MCSO criminal investigations division for an interview. After being read his Miranda rights, Taylor agreed to speak with investigators and admitted that he had been in a “financial bind,” according to the arrest report.

Taylor told investigators that he felt “threatened” by an inmate and others who were acting on the inmate’s behalf, which motivated him to take part in the conspiracy to introduce contraband into the jail.

According to the MCSO report, Taylor admitted that he spoke with the inmate over the phone in two conversations that had been recorded. He further confirmed that the inmate had asked him to pick up cigarettes and Black and Mild cigars, which he had provided to the inmate, and he also brought several lighters into the jail.

During the post-Miranda interview, Taylor admitted to having conversations with the inmate about bringing a cellphone into the jail, but he denied actually bringing one into the jail. He also admitted to picking up two packages at a “drop location” in the jail.

The MCSO report stated that Taylor admitted to being paid between $1,300 and $1,400 to smuggle the contraband into the jail.

Prior to being detained, a cellphone had been located in Taylor’s pocket and another cellphone was found in his vehicle. He told investigators that the secondary phone in his vehicle was for “receiving payments,” as well as for communicating with others via phone calls and text messages regarding the contraband items.

Taylor gave his consent for investigators to search his cellphones and residence. The MCSO report stated that the forensic examination is underway.

Taylor was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail. He is facing the following charges: using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony (two counts), introduction of contraband (cellular device) into a detention facility (two counts), felony criminal conspiracy, misdemeanor criminal conspiracy, and introduction of contraband (tobacco) into a detention facility.

According to MCSO, Taylor has been suspended and placed on leave without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods released a statement following Taylor’s arrest: “The presence of contraband is a major problem at jails and prisons throughout this country. It endangers inmates and it endangers those who work inside. While I am saddened that one of my employees would conspire with an inmate to introduce contraband into the jail, I am proud of my investigators and detention staff who helped bring this case to a close.”

“The high standards that this job demands will not change,” added Sheriff Woods. “When one of my employees violates that standard, I will absolutely hold them accountable. Mr. Taylor will now be housed in the same area of the jail that he was once tasked with guarding.”