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Yadkin County sheriff says he fired detention officer 22 days before she was charged in alleged role in drug-smuggling into the county jail

Yadkin County sheriff says he fired detention officer 22 days before she was charged in alleged role in drug-smuggling into the county jail


Sheriff Ricky Oliver of Yadkin County fired a detention officer at the Yadkin County Jail 22 days before she was arrested and charged for her alleged role in a drug-smuggling operation into the jail.

Wendy Kaye Nelson, 44, of Boone was terminated on March 31, Oliver said Tuesday.

Nelson “was told that her services were no longer needed,” Oliver said. “It’s very unfortunate when any employee decides to violate policy, procedures and the law. We don’t tolerate any violation of polices, procedures or the law with the sheriff’s office.”

Nelson was charged on April 22 with five counts of conspiracy to sell and deliver a controlled substance; possession of synthetic cannabinoid with intent to sell and deliver; possession of a controlled substance in the jail; commission of a sex act with an inmate by a government employee; provision of a mobile phone to an inmate; and sale or delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, according to five arrest warrants.

The Yadkin County Sheriff’s Office issued a news release Monday that provided details about the charges against Nelson and 10 other people that investigators linked to the drug-smuggling operation.

Nelson has been released from custody after she posted a $100,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court May 18.

Reached by telephone Tuesday, Nelson declined to comment about the charges against her.

Nelson was hired as a detention officer in July 2015 with annual salary of $28,581, Oliver said. Nelson was promoted to the rank of corporal in December 2016, and she had an annual salary of $34,469.

When Nelson was terminated on March 31, her annual salary was $36,764, Oliver said.

Nelson is accused of having an inappropriate personal relationship and sex with Christopher Cody Caudill, a jail inmate, according to an arrest warrant and the sheriff’s office.

When detention officers are being trained, they are told not to have relationships with jail inmates, Oliver said.

Nelson is accused of helping two other people, Edgar Owen Strickland, 76, and Scott Adam Strickland, 28, both of the Hamptonville community, to deliver contraband and synthetic cannabinoid to Caudill, according to an arrest warrant and the sheriff’s office.

Authorities didn’t describe the relationship between Edgar and Scott Strickland.

The contraband and drugs were hidden in property that was delivered to the jail and brought inside for Caudill, the sheriff’s office said. Nelson also is accused of allowing an inmate to use a mobile phone inside the jail, warrant said.

Edgar Strickland, Scott Strickland and eight other Yadkin County residents also are facing felony drug offenses in connection with the drug-smuggling operation inside the jail, the sheriff’s office said.



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