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Jailer, brother arrested in drug sting

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga.-- A detention officer at the Dougherty County Jail and his brother were arrested by drug agents Tuesday night during an undercover prescription drug operation, police officials say.

Granvil Smith and Jamal Smith each bonded out of the Dougherty County Jail Wednesday morning. They each are accused of selling prescription drugs.

An additional count of reckless conduct in the presence of a child has been added since a one-year-old child was present when the sting operation was conducted.

According to Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit Commander Maj. Bill Berry, drug agents received information from the Dougherty District Attorney's office that the brothers may have been selling prescriptions illegally. An undercover buy operation was set up, he said.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Berry said, an undercover agent bought 35 pills of Xanax and 35 pills of pain killer Oxycontin from the two men and the arrests were made.

Wednesday morning, Granvil Smith was terminated from his position as a detention officer with the Dougherty County Sheriff's office, Sheriff Kevin Sproul said.

"It's repulsive, despicable. I was very upset when I found out about this last night," Sproul said. "As detention officers and law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard than others and have to have a high level of integrity."

Sproul said that because of Granvil Smith's access to inmates, an investigation has been launched to determine whether his alleged drug business spilled over into the jail. There is no indication so far that is the case, the sheriff said.

While prescription drug abuse and sales are some of the fastest-growing sectors of the illicit drug trade, Berry says that public perception of that particular facet of the business is much more sanitized because many people have prescription drugs in their home legally.

"It's a huge problem," Berry said. "It's one of those issues, though, that you don't hear a lot about or see a lot about because everyone has them in their own homes. It's just not viewed in the same light as marijuana or meth."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, fatal overdoses from prescription drugs now surpasses cocaine and heroin for top spot in the U.S. and send more than 120,000 people with non-fatal overdoses to emergency rooms each year.