Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Money goes missing from Tommy Lee’s jail cell

Published:Wednesday | October 6, 2021 | 12:09 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter
Tommy Lee Sparta
Tommy Lee Sparta

Prison authorities have denied knowledge of reports that administrative action was recently taken against warders after tens of thousands of dollars allegedly confiscated from the cell of incarcerated entertainer Tommy Lee Sparta went missing. The...

Prison authorities have denied knowledge of reports that administrative action was recently taken against warders after tens of thousands of dollars allegedly confiscated from the cell of incarcerated entertainer Tommy Lee Sparta went missing.

The amount is believed to be above $100,000.

The controversial deejay is imprisoned at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre in Kingston.

The correctional officers were, more than a week ago, relegated to sectional duties to limit their involvement in patrols and searches, sources with knowledge of the incident told The Gleaner.

Tommy Lee Sparta, whose given name is Leroy Russell, is currently serving a three-year sentence on gun and ammunition charges.

“Dem (the warders) did deh on patrol team so dem tek dem off and put dem on section fi work. That team that was working, they search him cell and take away the money, hold on to it, and the money miss up,” said the source, who requested anonymity for fear of disciplinary action by the authorities.

“They were taken off the search team, but they are working on section still, but no longer on the patrol team. Sometimes it is the same warders who take in these cash and contraband, so they send other warders for it and sometimes charge inmates for it and when they can’t get their way, they confiscate,” the source added.

The Gleaner understands that the entertainer was transferred to another cell to allow for more intense surveillance to mitigate against the smuggling of contraband.

When contacted on Monday, Monique Pryce, director of corporate communication and public relations at the Department of Corrections, told The Gleaner that she was unaware of the claim.

“I did make some checks and I cannot get additional information from the powers that be … . Not sure if there is any truth to it,” Pryce said.

Arlington Turner, chairman of the Jamaica Federation of Corrections, also denied knowledge of the incident.

“I am hearing that from you for the first time. Not aware,” he said on Tuesday.

Donahue Martin, attorney for Tommy Lee Sparta, declined comment.

It is unclear how that much cash got into Tommy Lee Sparta’s prison cell. There are official channels through which inmates are able to receive money from family.

However, Jamaica’s maximum-security facilities have been notorious for being sieves through which prison staff traffic contraband, including drugs, liquor, and cell phones..

In one of the most recent incidents, 48-year-old correctional officer Sophia Meek was charged after marijuana and cell phones were found at the South Camp Road adult facility.

The Department of Correctional Services has reportedly implemented measures to combat the inflow of contraband into its facilities.

Speaking in the Senate recently, Senator Matthew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, revealed that 2,300 cell phones were seized at correctional facilities over the past year.

Samuda said among the measures on the cards are legal amendments to criminalise possession, use, and smuggling of electronic devices, particularly cell phones, into correctional facilities.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com