Wayne County Jail worker, inmate charged in drug, cigarette, cellphone smuggling operation

Ashton McDougal, Dawaun McQueen charged

A Wayne County Jail worker is accused of smuggling and selling drugs to inmates. The sheriff's office said she wasn't an employee of theirs, but was contracted to work in food services.

DETROIT – A worker and an inmate at the Wayne County Jail have been charged in a drug, cigarette and cellphone smuggling operation, officials said.

Ashton McDougal, 28, was a contracted employee who had been working at the Wayne County Jail for about five months, authorities said.

According to police, she worked with inmate Dawaun McQueen, 25, to smuggle marijuana, drug paraphernalia, cigarettes and cellphones into the jail.

“We will not accept this nonsense,” Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington said. “We absolutely will not. We have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of conduct.”

Officials said they discovered marijuana in the jail about two weeks ago and referred the case to the Internal Affairs section. Investigators identified multiple suspects, including McDougal, they said.

When McDougal was entering the jail for her shift on Nov. 29, investigators arrested her and found about 24 grams of marijuana on her person, according to authorities.

Police believe she was charging about $500 per marijuana delivery and $1,000 for a cellphone. Two of the inmates she had been selling to have been transferred to a maximum security facility, authorities said.

While she isn’t a Wayne County Sheriff’s Office employee, McDougal had direct contact with inmates, officials said.

Investigators said they discovered a brown powdery substance on an inmate in the ward where McDougal worked, and it turned out to be pure fentanyl. McDougal denied bringing anything other than marijuana, drug paraphernalia, cigarettes and cellphones into the jail, according to police.

McDougal is charged with two counts of furnishing contraband to prisoners in jail and one count of furnishing a cellphone to a prisoner in jail.

McQueen is in jail on a charge of assault with intent to murder, police said. He was determined to have received a cellphone from McDougal.

He is charged with possession/use of a cellphone in jails, with an enhancement of third habitual offender, according to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

“This investigation is not over,” Wayne County Undersheriff Mike Jaafar said. “If we find out that there are any further crimes, we’re going after them, too. That’s a fact.”

McDougal did not have a criminal record when she was hired, according to officials.

“She’s very unassuming and seemed to show remorse for what she had done,” Internal Affairs Captain Reid Chakrabarty said.


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