Corrections Officer Smuggled Marijuana-Filled Sandwich Into Jail
Posted by Max Toker
on Jan 22nd, 2011 | 0 comments
If you smuggle marijuana into this county jail, you get a roast beef sub and an expensive bottle of tequila. Make it into lock-up with a cell phone and you’ll be introduced to a stripper.
That may sound like some new weird reality TV show, but Florida authorities said a Marion County corrections officer actuallyaccepted all of the above.
The officer and four other people — two inmates and their girlfriends — have now been arrested, reports Austin L. Miller at the Ocala Star-Banner
Joseph Jones, 31, a master corrections officer, was charged with principal to introducing contraband into a detention facility, introduction of contraband into a detention facility, and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.
Jones was booked into Marion County Jail at 9:55 p.m. Wednesday, and released about an hour and a half later, at 11:30 p.m. He was suspended without pay from his job, and an Internal Affairs investigation has been launched.
A jail inmate, Travis Cottrell, 28, told officers that the scheme worked like this: Two women would go to a sandwich shop not far from the jail and order two sandwiches. They’d remove the meat and other contents from one sub and place the marijuana inside the bread.
They would then meet Officer Jones and give him both sandwiches, which he would bring to the jail.
Law enforcement officials admitted the activity occurred “within the past week,” but would not say how frequently it had happened.
On Wednesday, with that information in mind, drug agents were keeping an eye on the sandwich shop. They claim they saw the two women — identified as Teresa Myers, 29, and Ashley Kiser, 24 — enter the sub shop and pick up two sandwiches.
The agents said they saw Jones, the correction officer, pull his vehicle into the parking lot and take the sandwiches — chicken teriyaki and roast beef — from the women.
Jones drove back to the jail. There, he was greeted by deputies and other agents, and escorted inside.
Officers said they looked inside the sandwiches and found eight grams of marijuana inside one of them. Jones claimed “he didn’t know” about the marijuana.
Later, he admitted that inmate Cottrell had offered to give him a free sandwich — specifically roast beef — if Jones would meet his girlfriend, Myers, at a certain time.
Jones said he was also promised a bottle of Patron tequila.
Officers were also told that Jones had been asked to bring a cell phone into the jail to take a photo of Cottrell so he could give it to Myers.
For doing that favor, Jones said, Myers was supposed to introduce him to a stripper.
The two women were stopped by deputies and taken to the Sheriff’s Office for questioning.
While searching Kiser’s jeans, officers found marijuana, according to their report. They also claim they found marijuana in Myers’s purse.
The two women quickly admitted their involvement in the scheme, authorities said.
A second inmate allegedly involved in the scheme, Anthony Carter, 25, declined to talk with officers, who say that he and Kiser are a couple.
Carter and Cottrell were charged with principal to introducing contraband into a detention facility. Myers was charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana. Kiser was charged with introducing contraband into a detention facility.
How many cops does it take to bust a marijuana sandwich? Quite a few, apparently.
Participating in the investigation were officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the Multi-Agency Drug Enforcement Team and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
If most of those agencies sound like ways to shake fat, high-dollar federal grants loose from the government, then bingo.
Officer Jones was hired by the Sheriff’s Office in 2005, according to agency records. The former U.S. Marine was promoted over time to the rank of master corrections officer, with an annual salary of $34,147.44.
Jones could not be reached for comment.
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