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Columbia County Deputy Arrested for Giving Inmates Cell Phone Access

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A Columbia County jailer was arrested on Thursday following allegations of allowing inmates to use a cell phone within the facility.

Riley Austin Peters, 21, was arrested after an investigation was spurred by information received Wednesday, according to sheriff’s Maj. Steve Morris. Peters allegedly provided inmates access to a cell phone within the E Pod housing area of the detention center in Appling. The information further suggested the possibility of financial transactions through platforms like Cash App in exchange for the illicit phone use.

Authorities initiated a lockdown of the E Pod housing area and conducted a comprehensive search of both inmates and the premises after Deputy Peters’ arrival for duty. Subsequently, Peters was escorted to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for questioning.

In light of the investigation’s findings, Peters was suspended from duty without pay and sent home. Peters was formally arrested Thursday and charged under OCGA 16-10-1 for Violation of Oath of Office and 42-5-18 for Providing a Telecommunication Device to an Inmate.

The gravity of the situation was underscored by the termination of Riley Peters from his position as Deputy Jailer, effective immediately, Maj. Morris said. Peters had been employed at the Columbia County Detention Center since Jan. 2, 2024.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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