Women accused of smuggling cell phones for Genesee County Jail inmates

The women who worked for vendors of the jail are now new inmates.
Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (10/28/2020) - Two service workers at the Genesee County Jail employees are off the job, accused of smuggling cell phones into the building and handing them off to inmates.

Four people are facing charges in connection to this scheme.

“I believe that both women were manipulated by the inmates,” Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said. “I believe that both of the inmates convinced the women to participate in this scheme.”

But, he explained regardless, these women still committed crimes.

He said 34-year-old Taquana Scales was a nurse inside the jail. ABC12 has learned she quit before charges were brought.

Scales is accused of giving one of the jail’s food service workers $500 to buy two cell phones.

David Leyton said 41-year-old Tracy Frazier made that purchase. Then, he explained, Scales smuggled the cellphones into the jail to two inmates -- 37-year-old Dorian Sykes and 42-year-old Dominick Wright.

“The danger is that these individuals can communicate, beyond the normal mode of communication and attempt to manipulate circumstances outside of the jail such as influencing or threatening witnesses, getting individuals to change the story or leave town all sorts of things could happen,” the Prosecutor said.

Sykes is in jail on a federal hold. Leyton said he’s been charged with robbing a bank and is awaiting a court hearing in Detroit.

Wright is awaiting trial for a 2015 murder. Court records show he’s charged with 8 felonies in that case, inlcuding open murder and two counts of assault with intent to murder.

Leyton said the Genesee County Jail staff learned they might have the devices and found Wright’s phone as he was trying to flush it down the toilet. Sykes’s phone was found inside a peanut butter jar.

“You got to be very careful when you run a secured facility as to who comes and goes and what they’re doing; and Sheriff Swanson has his hands full,” Leyton said.

He added that police are looking through both phones to retrieve information about what they were used for.

In a statement, Sheriff Swanson said, “Jails and prisons around the nation will always battle contraband being brought into the jails, or their facilities. And we are no exception. That’s why we do constant cell searches. We do backgrounds, not only for our employees but for all our vendors. We have supervisors on all shifts, but there are times that you have right now where contraband can still be smuggled in.”

Scales, the former nurse inside the jail, is also charged with 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct. The Prosecutor explained she performed a sex act on Sykes. He does not believe it is linked to the cell phone exchange.

Swanson said that happened in the jail’s medical department, hidden from their cameras.

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