Harris County jailer facing drug charge

November 3, 2010 4:57:43 PM PDT
It's his job to watch people who are behind bars. But instead, a Harris County detention officer ended up behind bars himself. The jailer was arrested in an undercover sting. As Henry Lee Fairley, 51, sits on the others side of jail bars, those who paid his salary were shocked to learn what he's accused of doing.

"He was smuggling prescriptions?" asked a taxpayer who only wanted to give us a first name of Diane. "He needs to be in jail."

Fairley was arrested on Tuesday as part of an undercover internal affairs investigation.

"He's accused of possession of a controlled substance, as well as introducing a prohibited substance into a correctional facility," said Christina Garza with the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Fairley is charged with possessing more than 28 grams of the prescription medication Xanax, drugs authorities say he intended to deliver to an inmate housed at 1200 Baker Street.

"Why do you want to do that?" wondered taxpayer Fern Clark. "It's stupid."

Fairley has only been employed at the Harris County Jail for two years, assigned to the Baker Street facility. As a civilian detention officer, we've learned he was subject to random searches but only when asked by superiors. It's a policy authorities say they now will review as part of this probe.

"It's still an open investigation," said Garza. "By all means, it's not over."

As for other employees, including sheriff's deputies, officials say they, too, could be under scrutiny, citing the importance of the Inspector of Inspector General, which conducted this latest investigation.

"We look into our own. No one is exempt. Badge or no badge, gun or no gun, we will look at everybody who is not following the law," Garza said. "This is just one of those cases that unfortunately we had to arrest one of our own."

Fairely remains behind bars in lieu of $10,000. He's due in court on Thursday.


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