State Police Now Getting Involved in Investigation of Bootleg Computers in State Prisons

FEBRUARY 7, 2007 - Posted at 7:43 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - State Police have been asked to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted over a prison scheme to smuggle computer parts and to sell inmate transfers.

The scope of the internal investigation has been widened from its focus on staff members at the medium-security Tucker Unit in Jefferson County and now includes an employee at the adjoining Tucker Maximum Security Unit.

Prisons spokeswoman Dina Tyler says the probe also has expanded to include three vocational instructors at Tucker, bringing to 15 the number of prison employees and support-staff members implicated so far.

Department director Larry Norris said in a statement that he hopes the nearly month-long investigation at the 796-bed prison is nearing an end.

A field lieutenant at Tucker and a secretarial worker at the adjacent Maximum Security Unit were placed on administrative leave yesterday, joining a Tucker hearing officer.  Nine others, including Deputy Warden Sue Guirl, have been fired or have resigned.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)