Four arrested in prison contraband crackdown

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — The Mississippi Department of Corrections reports four women were arrested Saturday while trying to sneak contraband items into two prisons.

Corrections officials said Susan Brewer, 58, of Waveland and Keneithea Chanel Johnson, 35, of Columbia are each charged with possession of a controlled substance, introduction of contraband and conspiracy following their arrests at South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville.

Brewer and Johnson, who came to the prison together, were taken to Greene County Jail.

Brewer is the mother of Inmate Chris Mazur, 29, who is serving a three-year sentence from Hancock County for possession of a controlled substance.

Johnson is the girlfriend of Inmate Torey Varnado, 30, who is serving nine years, four months and 21 days for uttering forgery out of Marion County.

Investigators with the Corrections Investigation Division seized about 55 grams of spice and 240 grams of tobacco with the two women’s arrests.

The two inmates also are charged with conspiracy from a three-week investigation.

NDOC said Salinda Hemphill, 32, of Hattiesburg and India Shirley, 36, of Arlington, Tenn., were arrested at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

Hemphill is charged with introduction of contraband after investigators found 18 Lorotab pills concealed on her body. She is the wife of Inmate Marcus Hemphill, 37, who is serving two sentences out of Choctaw County. Inmate Hemphill received life for armed robbery and 20 years for aggravated assault.

Shirley was scheduled to visit Inmate Kevin Jennings, a friend of hers who is serving 22 years for cocaine possession with an enhanced penalty. She is charged with five counts of conspiracy to introduce contraband.

Both women were booked at the Sunflower County Jail.

Introduction of contraband into a correctional facility is a felony punishable by three to 15 years in prison, a maximum $25,000 fine, or both.

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