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Ex-Cuyahoga County jailer faces sentencing for role in jail smuggling operation

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Posted at 9:08 AM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 09:08:08-05

CLEVELAND — A former Cuyahoga County corrections officer who pleaded guilty in November for his role in what prosecutors say was a two-year smuggling operation behind bars, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday morning.

The former jailer, Stephen Thomas, pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery, both third-degree felonies; one count of theft in office, a fifth-degree felony; and illegal conveyance of communications device onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility, a first-degree misdemeanor. He is facing up to seven and a half years in prison on those charges as well as more than $20,000 in fines.

Watch the sentencing scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the media player below:

News 5 livestream event

Thomas, who resigned following his arrest in 2019, was a member of the jail's Special Response Team, or "Men in Black." Thomas was accused of accepting thousands of dollars from inmates in exchange for providing them with heroin, vape pens, cell phones and fentanyl behind bars.

Thomas was arrested after a detective watching jail security cameras saw him hand drugs to an inmate. When authorities searched his locker, they say they found oxycodone pills and part of a plastic glove containing suspected drugs.

RELATED: Ex-jailer, inmate plead guilty in Cuyahoga County jail smuggling

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