A former Tulsa County jail inmate worker who allegedly stole drugs from the sheriff’s office property room in June was unsupervised in an area with case evidence for three hours that day, records show.
Jesse James Priebe, 22, was charged Thursday with possession of contraband in jail, destroying evidence, assualt on a police officer and threatening an act of violence.
Priebe and another inmate were taken to the Faulkner Building the morning of June 17 by Sgt. Chris Pierce, who is in charge of the inmate work program, an affidavit filed Thursday states. The other inmate with Preibe that day, Ryan Riehl, told investigators Preibe had been unsupervised for three hours.
Priebe was given an access card that granted him “limited access” throughout the building, the affidavit states. The Faulkner building houses conference rooms and offices, but also contains the property room where evidence in hundreds of criminal cases is stored.
As first reported by The Frontier, Preibe allegedly managed to get into an area where “K2 and bottles of alcohol” were stored, and Pierce found some of the K2 packages hidden in an area where Preibe had been left unsupervised.
How and why Preibe was left unsupervised that long has not been answered.
In September, a Frontier reporter asked the sheriff’s office why the incident was not reported to the District Attorney’s office for nearly three months. TCSO Public Information Officer Justin Green replied: “As far charges against any inmates involved, there is a statue of limitations that allows us time to file charges. I encourage you to allow us to do our jobs and we will make the decisions as we see it.”
District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said he had been unaware of the property room breach, but at the time was more concerned about the integrity of the evidence room than whether TCSO had presented him the case.
The affidavit filed Thursday states the sheriff’s office made several changes to the property room, “including but not limited to fortification, improved access control and enhanced supervision of inmates.”
It is unclear whether anyone has been disciplined at the sheriff’s office for the property room incident.
The sheriff’s office has not responded to multiple Open Records Act requests from The Frontier for information related to the breach, or for records of internal investigations related to the breach.
As for Preibe, he was released from jail in August, after TCSO had begun an internal affairs investigation.
A search warrant filed in June stated that Responding jail staff noticed Preibe was “bleeding heavily from his rectal area” and had blood “seeping through (the) rear of his pants.”
Preibe stated “he urgently needed to use the bathroom,” the affidavit states.
Smuggling contraband into the jail via the rectal cavity, a process referred to as “keistering,” is “common practice for inmates and prisoners,” according to the investigator who requested the search warrant.
Preibe was taken to a solitary “suicide watch” cell, where he was observed via closed circuit television sitting on a toilet, reaching between his legs and “making pulling movements.”
Investigators removed Preibe from the cell and found a “large amount of blood” and a “green leafy substance” floating in the water, as well as a retail foil packet “associated with the sale and packaging of the synthetic marijuana.”
Preibe was given an x-ray, which showed a “large black object” remained in Preibe’s rectal cavity.