A corrections officer in Duval County has been arrested on three felony charges. According to an article on News4Jax, the officer was arrested this past Sunday for Delivering or Distributing Methamphetamine, Delivering or Distributing Marijuana and Bringing Contraband into a County Detention Facility. All three charges are felonies in Florida. The meth charge is classified as a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and the other two are third degree felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison each. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received a tip that the officer may be smuggling the drugs into the John E. Goode Pretrial Detention Facility. The corrections officer has been with JSO for four years and resigned his position after the arrest. He was given relatively low bonds for Jacksonville, which are $7503 for both of the drug charges and $5003 for the contraband charge.
In Florida, if you sell, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance, it is considered a felony. The degree of felony depends on what exactly the controlled substance is. Because methamphetamine is considered more dangerous, delivery of that drug is considered a higher felony than delivery of marijuana. According to authorities, the Sheriff’s Office does not believe that the officer was “selling” the drugs, just being paid the smuggle them into the facility. JSO is continuing it’s investigation by conducting interviews of inmates and fellow officers to try to find out how pervasive this issue is.
The third charge is introducing contraband into a corrections facility. It is against Florida law to introduce contraband items into or possess in a county detention facility or give or receive contraband items from an inmate. These items include money, food, tobacco products, intoxicating drinks, narcotics, hypnotics, nasal inhalers, sleeping pills, marijuana, guns and cell phones. Anyone can be charged with this crime, including civilians, lawyers and law enforcement officers. Speaking from experience, lawyers and civilians are searched before they can enter the facility. We go through metal detectors and are subject to further search. It is not clear what search procedures, if any, corrections officers go through before they begin their shift. Since this arrest, security at the jail will most certainly be elevated.