Former Kentucky fire chief arrested, accused of smuggling contraband into detention center

Published 6:02 am Friday, August 27, 2021

A former Kentucky fire chief working as a deputy at the detention center has been arrested after allegedly being paid to smuggle a cellphone and a power bank into the jail for an inmate. The power bank reportedly had drugs hidden inside.

Clark County Deputy Billy Jones been charged with first-degree official misconduct and second-degree promoting contraband, according to a citation from the Winchester Police Department. Both charges are misdemeanors.

Clark County Jailer Frank Doyle confirmed that the person cited is the same Billy Jones who formerly served as Clark County Fire Chief.

According to the citation, an investigation at the Clark County Detention Center revealed that Jones was paid $400 to bring a cell phone and a power bank into the jail and deliver them to an inmate. A different inmate told jail officials that the power bank had 12 grams of heroin, eight grams of methamphetamine and 50 suboxone strips hidden inside.

The citation states that the inmate also told jail officials that Jennifer Cornwell of Versailles was the person who paid Jones to bring the items into the jail.

In February, Cornwell was charged in a separate incident with trafficking in a controlled substance. Cornwell has been indicted by a Clark County Grand Jury on those charges. Charges related to the jail investigation are pending.

Jones admitted to police that he met Cornwell at Clark’s Pump and Shop to get the items and payment. He also admitted to taking the items into the jail and delivering them to an inmate. Deputies found a cell phone during a search of that inmate’s cell.

Jones also admitted to bringing another cell phone into the jail along with a roll of Grizzly wintergreen chewing tobacco. The incidents occurred between December 2020 and January 2021.

No other individuals have been charged in the case thus far.

Doyle said once he heard that illegal activity may have taken place in the jail, he didn’t hesitate to investigate.

“When I got wind of what was going on, I initiated the investigation,” Doyle said. “Once I found out there were others (in addition to a jail employee) involved, I got Winchester Police involved.”

Winchester Police Captain James Hall said Doyle brought this information to police, asking for their assistance. Jail and police officials have been working closely throughout the investigation.

Doyle said he has no problem investigating one of his own employees when necessary.

“This is not the first employee in my two terms that we have charged with criminal offenses,” Doyle said. “I don’t have a problem doing my job.”

Jones is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 25.