TN prison officer accused of bringing cell phones, marijuana, to - WSMV Channel 4

TN prison officer accused of bringing cell phones, marijuana, tobacco into prison

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Cpl. Lonnie B. Rogers Cpl. Lonnie B. Rogers
HENNING, TN -

(WMC-TV) - The Tennessee Department of Correction has been under a lot of scrutiny recently after videos surfaced showing prisoners smoking, even using marijuana inside prison.

Now, a prison employee in Henning is accused of helping prisoners do just that.

Signs outside of the West Tennessee State Penitentiary say drugs are prohibited. But pictures released Thursday show tobacco, marijuana, and cell phones found inside the jail this week.

According to officials, they were allegedly brought in by Lonnie Rogers, a corporal assigned to the prison's transportation unit.

“I was hoping it wasn't true,” said neighbor Robert Bursey.

Rogers has worked for the prison 18 years.

In a warrant, he admitted to receiving $700 from an unknown woman to provide contraband to inmate Ronnie Henry.

Prison officials say Rogers is accused of bringing in 40 cell phones, chargers, 22 ounces of marijuana, and tobacco.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections commissioner says this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

“If he did it, it's hard to believe. He's innocent until proven guilty,” said neighbor Vicky Tidwell.

Rogers' neighbors say he is a good man.

“He's got kids and he's just a wonderful dad. I've seen him one on one with those children,” added Tidwell.

Rogers family told Action News 5 outside of court that they had no comment and did not even know what was going on.

Meanwhile, his friends still do not believe he is guilty.

“I wasn't shocked. I just didn't believe it was true. So, I ignored it hoping it'd be just like the other rumors you hear,” Bursey said.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Mike Dunavant is prosecuting Lonnie Rogers' case. He says depending on what happens in court, the case could go before a Lauderdale County grand jury in October.

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