SIDNEY — The housing of federal prisoners at the Shelby County Jail has raised some questions by local residents.
According to Chief Deputy Jim Frye, who was subbing for Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart this week, the jail is currently “home” to 37 federal prisoners. There are a total of 165 inmates being held at the jail.
“We accept all federal prisoners,” said Frye. “There are some exceptions. We have one federal inmate who requires dialysis. We had to make sure the dialysis center we use would accept him. They did and we take him three times a week for dialysis.”
The inmate who raised the concerns of local citizens is Laith Walled Alebbine, of Dayton, who was booked into the jail on Feb. 13 by U.S. Marshals. He is being charged with the attempted support of a terrorist organization.
“He’s being held with the general population,” said Frye. “We don’t have any details on why he’s being charged.”
Frye said it’s the responsibility of local deputies to transport federal prisoners to Dayton federal court when they have to make a court appearance. Federal judges and federal prosecutors oversee the cases and not local judges and prosecutors.
Frye said the jail has housed one inmate who might have posed a risk. The person had extorted money from Wright Patterson. He was taken into custody in his native Iran and transported to the U.S. by the FBI and U.S. Marshals.
“We housed him,” said Frye. “We kept him off the website so no one knew he was here. There were safety concerns that someone who supported him might try something.
“His sister came here to visit him. She knew he was her because his attorney had told her,” he said.
Frye said he spoke with someone Friday concerning Alebbine being housed at the jail.
“He thought there was a terrorist activity in Shelby County,” said Frye. “I explained to him that there was no terrorist cell in Shelby County. I assured him there wasn’t one.
He said there have been Facebook posts about the inmate. After the situation was explained to the person posting the item, it was removed, said Frye.
“He (Alebbine) is secure in our jail,” said Frye. “We not worried about someone trying to break him out.
“We have more problems with our local inmates than we do with the federal prisoners,” said Frye. “The federal inmates have money and they like to spend their money in the commissary. They abide by the rules and are ready to serve their time.”
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.