PORT ALLEN — Another deputy assigned to the West Baton Rouge Parish work-release facility has been suspended without pay, this time after an escape by a 37-year-old trusty Saturday night went unnoticed for a short time because the deputy didn’t perform a proper head count.
The armed-robbery convict was caught as he re-entered the facility carrying two bags of marijuana, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Col. Richie Johnson said Tuesday.
Johnson said the trusty, Haron Link, used a dummy he built to fool the officer into thinking he was sleeping in bed while the d eputy was performing a head count about 9:25 p.m. Saturday.
Johnson said Link’s escape wasn’t discovered until 10:15 p.m., when another guard performing a security check noticed it wasn’t actually Link under the covers in the bunk.
“They reported it to all the proper authorities,” Johnson said. “The guy didn’t know we knew he was missing, so he tried to sneak back in the facility around 2:15 a.m. Sunday.”
Deputies at the facility then discovered two bags of marijuana on Link while they were performing a strip search of the inmate during the booking process, Johnson said.
Link, 58371 Plaquemine St., Plaquemine, already has served 14 years for an armed robbery he committed in Iberville Parish. On Sunday, he was booked into the West Baton Rouge Parish Detention Center on possession of marijuana, entering contraband into a penal facility and escape.
Johnson did not reveal the suspended deputy’s name, the length of the suspension or how long the officer has worked for the Sheriff’s Office.
“He was a newer guard that had some experience working for the department of corrections,” Johnson said. “He acknowledged he didn’t make sure he saw skin when he was doing his head count.”
The Sheriff’s Office in December suspended two other deputies assigned to the work-release facility after three inmates escaped and committed a crime in Baton Rouge.
The trio, who fled the parish’s work-release facility Nov. 8, is accused of physically assaulting, kidnapping and robbing a man in Baton Rouge.
A recent state legislative audit report singles out the West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office’s work-release facility for having the highest number of inmate escapes in the state over a three-year period.
The West Baton Rouge facility, believed to be the largest work-release center in the state, had 22 reported inmate escapes between fiscal years 2013-15, the audit notes.
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