Officer accused of trying to sell pot, tobacco to inmates
AMITE — A Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputy was arrested and fired Monday after he allegedly took marijuana and tobacco into the Parish Jail to sell to inmates, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Patrick Collins, 58, a Parish Jail employee, was booked on one count of malfeasance in office, two counts of introduction of contraband into a penal institution and possession with intent to distribute Schedule I narcotics.
Collins, of Independence, will be housed in St. John the Baptist Parish with bail pending, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said in a news release.
Jail command staff received information over the past few days indicating Collins would bring the marijuana and tobacco into the jail on Monday, Panepinto said. She declined to say how staffers received the information.
Narcotics agents searched Collins’ work space Monday and found four separate packages containing marijuana and tobacco, she said.
The packages were confiscated before they were sold, Panepinto said. Agents are not sure at this point how much Collins previously sold.
Collins later admitted to bringing the marijuana and tobacco into the jail to sell to inmates, Panepinto said. Collins had been working for the jail since Aug. 19.
Collins did not have any disciplinary history with the Sheriff’s Office, Panepinto said. He also cleared a background check before he was hired.
“Had there been an indication” that this could have happened, Panepinto said in an email, “we would not have hired him.”
Collins is being jailed in St. John the Baptist Parish so he won’t be housed in the same jail in which he used to work, Panepinto said. St. John routinely houses offenders for Tangipahoa and vice versa.