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Arkansas Mayor, Sheriff, Wife Jailed for Burglary, Drugs, Sex and More

On February 6, 2006, just weeks after Lonoke Arkansas Mayor Thomas Privett, 68, and Sheriff Jay Campbell, 46, admitted to a state monitoring committee that they had illegally used state prisoners for personal benefit, the two were arrested on multiple charges of corruption.

Arkansas Act 309 program was designed to serve the dual purpose of alleviating prison overcrowding while providing a service to local communities. State prisoners assigned to Lonoke County were removed after Mayor Privett and Sheriff Campbell were using those prisoners for personal duties. But the sheriff's wife, Kelly Campbell, proved to be the biggest problem when it was discovered that, among other things, she was having sex with the prisoners.

Originally, Mayor Privett had admitted only to letting Campbell use one of his properties to allow state prisoners to work on the sheriff's boat. [See PLN, Sep. 2006] An investigation revealed that Privett had also used state prisoners to work on an air conditioner and hang Christmas lights at his home. The mayor was charged with theft of services and released from jail on a $500 bond.

Sheriff Campbell's life began to crumble when Bobby Cox, a Little Rock bail bondsman, enlisted his help in returning a bail-jumper. Campbell conspired with Cox to have Roger Light cook a batch of methamphetamine. The idea was to bust Light and pressure him to reveal the location of his fugitive friend.

Since it was unlikely that Light would willingly make any meth for the sheriff, Campbell and Cox enlisted the assistance of known meth user Ronald Adams. But when Adams demanded that his record be cleared, in exchange for betraying Light, the deal collapsed.

Sheriff Campbell is currently charged with illegally employing state prisoners for personal gain; he is also charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal conspiracy to commit residential burglary, theft by receiving and theft of services.

Kelly Campbell, the sheriff's wife, was arrested and charged with residential burglary, conspiracy to commit residential burglary, theft of property, furnishing prohibited articles to prisoners, tampering and escape, four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and having sex with at least two prisoners.

Reports charge Mrs. Campbell with illegally entering several private residences and stealing prescription drugs and antique jewelry. Sheriff Campbell attempted to retrieve the jewelry from a Little Rock pawn shop where his wife had pawned it.

Kelly Campbell also supplied marijuana, alcohol and cell phones to prisoners. She also took two prisoners out of the jail in order to have sexual relations with them.

Lonoke jailers said that they could not keep the chief's wife out of the jail and that when they tried she became irate. Jailers said that the sheriff also became irate when he learned they were keeping a log of his wifes visits.

Sheriff Campbell previously worked for the Pulaski County Sheriffs Department, but was fired in 2000, after he tried to use his lieutenant's rank to intimidate his subordinates. His appeal for reinstatement and monetary damages was denied in 2001. In 2002 Campbell became Lonoke police chief.

Campbell, his wife and bail bondsman Bobby Cox were arrested without incident and released on $50,000 bond. Lonoke prosecutor Lona McCastlain said that the investigation is not concluded and 'Im not ruling out additional charges.

Source: Associated Press

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