St. Louis Public Radio News
5:23 pm
Wed August 12, 2009

Former jail guard pleads guilty to drug charges

St. Louis, MO – A former guard at the city's jail in downtown St. Louis has pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge.

36-year-old James Lamont Moore was one of three guards accused of delivering heroin to an inmate housed at the jail between January and March of this year. He could face 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines when he's sentenced in October.

In March, the American Civil Liberties Union issued a report on substandard conditions at the jail that included allegations of heroin use. Moore's plea, entered on Wednesday, helps validate the report, said John Chasnoff, the ACLU's program director.

"I think that having three guards arrested for drug charges shows that there are serious problems in the jails, and it lends a lot of credence to the various problems we sited in our report," Chasnoff said. The report was greeted skeptically because it used anonymous sources.

The Department of Public Safety would not comment on Moore's plea. The department, the ACLU, and aldermen are supposed to meet to discuss issues raised in the report - but the chair of the public safety committee, Alderwoman Phyllis Young, said she's not aware of any taking place.