Louisiana jail guard accused of trying to smuggle cocaine

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GRETNA, La. (AP) — A guard at a Louisiana jail has been arrested for allegedly conspiring with an inmate to smuggle cocaine into the facility, authorities said.

Keiondra Howard, 20, of New Sarpy, was arrested Wednesday on counts of malfeasance in office, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to introduce contraband into a correctional center, said Capt. Jason Rivarde, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, which operates the correctional center in Gretna.

Howard had been employed by the sheriff’s office for less than three months, Rivarde said.

Inmate Harry Berry, 25, of Metairie, was also arrested on charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and conspiracy to introduce contraband into the correctional center, The Times Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported. Berry had been jailed since his July 17 arrest on charges of pandering, possession of cocaine and resisting arrest, court records show. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Investigators accused Howard of plotting with Berry to bring cocaine into the jail, though the sheriff’s office didn’t disclose how they discovered the alleged scheme.

Detectives detained Howard after she arrived for work on Wednesday. They searched her vehicle and found cocaine inside, Rivarde said.

“The drugs never made it into the facility,” he said.

Howard’s bond information was not immediately available but bond for Berry was set at $35,000.

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