LANCASTER, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A former Lancaster County correctional officer was arrested on Monday after it was discovered that he had been smuggling contraband into the jail.
The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office says 33-year-old Christopher Paul Sweet of Fort Mill has been charged with taking contraband into the Lancaster County Detention Center.
On Jan. 2, a cell phone was discovered in the common area of a cell during a search by corrections employees.The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the incident immediately, and an inmate eventually claimed the phone.
After interviewing inmates, civilians, and corrections employees and Sweet, it was determined that Sweet was the source of various contraband, including cell phones and chargers, marijuana, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, and “blunt spray” used to mask the odor of marijuana and cigarette smoke.
Authorities believe Sweet brought these items in several times between September 2017 and the end of the year. At the end of Sweet's interview, he was fired and taken into custody.
He is charged with furnishing contraband to a county prisoner and misconduct in office. He is being held on a $15,000 bond.
In a statement released by the Lancaster County Sheriffs' Office, Sheriff Barry Faile said:
Contraband in jails and prisons is a huge safety concern. Seemingly harmless items can be used as currency for commerce among inmates, give some inmates advantages over others, and create disputes among inmates. These activities create danger to inmates, corrections staff, and the public who might be in the facility. Cell phones are particularly onerous and allow inmates to communicate outside the walls to arrange all sorts of improper and illegal activities. We thoroughly investigate the backgrounds of correctional officer candidates with the intent to weed out those who might fall to the temptations offered by certain inmates. Once an inmate has compromising information on a correctional officer, that correctional officer becomes a liability. Mr. Sweet stepped into this trap. His actions were intolerable, and he put his coworkers at risk. I am deeply disappointed at this turn of events and took immediate action to see that Mr. Sweet was terminated and that appropriate criminal charges were made against him.