A 53-year-old South Carolina woman who worked as a nurse at a maximum-security prison in Richland County has been charged with smuggling drugs into the facility. The woman was taken into custody when Diazepam and oxycodone pills were found on her person, according to a Department of Corrections representative.
The former prison employee has been charged with misdemeanor counts of possessing a Schedule IV controlled substance and possessing a Schedule II controlled substance, as well as a felony count of passing contraband to an inmate.
The drugs were concealed
The nurse allegedly placed the drugs inside a black rubber glove in order to smuggle them into the institution undetected. Prison officials say that they decided to stop and search the woman after observing her behavior on video surveillance equipment.
Most of the prison’s approximately 1,400 inmates are violent offenders or prisoners who have been transferred from other facilities because of behavioral problems.
The woman faces a long custodial sentence if she is convicted on all charges. Both of the misdemeanor counts carry a maximum prison sentence of six months, and a conviction on the felony count could add 10 years to the woman’s sentence. The Department of Corrections has also announced that the arrest will prevent the woman from working in a state prison again.
Defending against criminal charges
When presented with facts like these in cases involving serious drug crimes, experienced criminal defense attorneys may study police reports carefully to determine whether or not the observed behavior provided sufficient probable cause to conduct a search. When probable cause is lacking, attorneys can seek to have the drugs excluded from evidence and drug possession charges dismissed. If the police officers involved appear to have acted properly, attorneys could pursue a more lenient sentence during plea negotiations.