MEMPHIS, Tenn. –The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office says a man who pretended to be a lawyer to smuggle phones and drugs into the Shelby County Corrections Center is now behind bars.

Richard Madkins, 59, was arrested Wednesday at the Shelby County Corrections Center on Mullin Station Road and charged with taking contraband into a penal facility and unlawful practice of the law.

SCSO said Madkins contacted the corrections center via email, said he was an attorney and wanted to meet with his client Rodney Ayers, a federal detainee.

Madkins sent the email from a Gmail address and stated Judge Jon McCalla appointed him to assist Ayers with his case.

Investigators discovered Madkins was not an attorney in Tennessee and, with the assistance of the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, set up surveillance of Madkins during his visit to the Shelby County Corrections Center.

Investigators said they observed a large bulge in the front of Madkins’ pants and, during a search, found 48 grams of marijuana wrapped in electrical tape, 179 grams of suspected tobacco, and a Tennessee ID and Social Security Card with another person’s name on it. They said they also found two cell phones and a charging cord in his shoes and socks.

Investigators said in the past, they intercepted calls between Madkins and an inmate in which they discussed the smuggling of contraband into the SCCC. During the 2022 visit, they said Madkins saw the inmate during an attorney visit, and the inmate was found with the contraband.

It does not appear Madkins was charged with anything in that case.

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Madkins is scheduled to go before a judge on Friday.