Deputies say Angola officer sought drugs

West Feliciana Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested a Louisiana State Penitentiary security officer accused of trying to get narcotics through an Angola inmate, a spokesman for Sheriff J. Austin Daniel said Wednesday.

Justin Darrel Nettles, 26, 160 Cedars Lane, Crosby, Miss., met a man he thought was a relative of the inmate, but the man actually was an undercover detective offering a pound of marijuana and a kilogram of cocaine, sheriff’s Maj. Archer Lee said.

Nettles, a corrections sergeant, met with the officer Monday in West Feliciana Parish near the Mississippi state line, Lee said.

Lee said an inmate had a cellphone on which text messages allegedly sent by Nettles sought the prisoner’s help in obtaining drugs that Nettles said he could sell outside the prison.

Angola officers confiscated the cellphone during a routine shakedown of the prisoner’s belongings, Lee said. After obtaining the text messages, narcotics officers used the phone to set up a sting operation.

During the transaction, the undercover officer questioned whether Nettles was working undercover to arrest him, but Nettles allegedly replied he would kill a police officer if needed, Lee said.

After accepting the packages of fake drugs, deputies arrested Nettles without incident but found a loaded pistol in his back pocket, Lee said.

Deputies booked Nettles with attempted possession of marijuana, attempted possession of cocaine and possession of a concealed weapon. Corrections Department spokeswoman Pam Laborde said Nettles was placed on leave pending completion of the investigation.

Lee said the inmate was moved to another state prison.