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Authorities Bust Pair Trying to Smuggle Contraband Into Oklahoma Prison

Corrections officers broke up a plan to smuggle dozens of cellphones and other contraband into an Oklahoma prison.
Michael Killingworth |  Jason Curlee
Michael Killingworth | Jason CurleeOklahoma Department of Corrections

This was the plan: Stuff three duffle bags with pot, tobacco, cell phones and other contraband, then heave them over a prison fence in the dead of night when the guards at an Oklahoma prison were scarce.

It didn’t work out the way an inmate at the Jess Dunn Correctional Center — and his alleged accomplice — planned, a spokesman for the prison said Thursday.

Michael Killingworth | Jason CurleeOklahoma Department of Corrections

Now Jason Curlee is facing more time behind bars, and he could soon be joined by his alleged accomplice Michael Killingworth, spokesman Alex Gerszewski said.

“The inmates have come up with creative ways of smuggling contraband inside,” Gerszewski said. “Fortunately, a couple of correctional officers on perimeter patrol came across the situation.”

None of the duffle bags made it over the fence, he added.

Both men were booked on charges of trying to introduce contraband into a penal institution and the Muskogee County District Attorney has taken over the case.

Related: Cell Extortion: Inmate Phones Leading to Violence, Fraud

Curlee, 31, who sports a "DEATH" and skull tattoo on his neck, has been in the facility since 2015 when he was arrested on charges of possession of firearms, second degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unauthorized use of a vehicle and eluding police, records revealed.

Meanwhile, prison officials revealed what the pair was allegedly trying to smuggle inside — 29 cellphones, 28 chargers, 242 packs of rolling papers, 60 one-pound bags of tobacco, 13 cans of smokeless tobacco, 150 pouches of smokeless tobacco, nine pounds of chewing tobacco, two pounds of marijuana and 100 lighters.

Jess Dunn is a minimum-security facility in Taft, Oklahoma that houses some 1,129 inmates in five dormitory-style buildings surrounded by high fences.

It was around 4 a.m. Sunday when Curlee snuck out of his building and headed for a section of the fence hidden in the shadows. Most of it is illuminated at night, but “there are weak points,” Gerszewski conceded.

“The inmate was on the inside of the grounds and Killingworth was trying to throw it over the fence to Curlee on the inside,” said Gerszewski, who declined to say how high the fence was.

Related: Dozens of Officers, Inmates Charged in Georgia Prison Cellphone Scams

Curlee saw the corrections officers before they saw him and tried to make it back to his building. But they spotted him running and chased him and Killingworth down.

“It took bravery and resolve to run after someone who was attempting to make a contraband drop at a facility,” Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh said in a statement.

The corrections officers found one of the bags when they busted the pair, Gerszewski said. The other two were found later in the morning after the sun came up.