Correctional officer accused of bringing inmates contraband in Lancaster Co

Sweet (Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)
Sweet (Lancaster County Sheriff's Office)

LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A correctional officer was arrested Monday after he was accused of bringing prisoners at the Lancaster County Detention Center contraband.

Christopher Paul Sweet, 33, of Fort Mill, is charged with furnishing contraband to a county prisoner and misconduct in office. Officials say he was terminated from his position when he was taken into custody.

The investigation began on January 2 when a cell phone was found in the common area of a cell during a search by corrections employees. Investigators say an inmate claimed the phone and a search warrant was obtained to examine the contents. Sweet was then interviewed and subsequently arrested.

According to the release, Sweet is accused of "making available to inmates cell phones and chargers, marijuana, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, and 'blunt spray' to mask the odor of marijuana and cigarette smoke" several times between September and the end of the year.

Sweet was employed as a correctional officer in November 2015.

Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile released a statement on Sweet's arrest.

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.

Sweet was released Tuesday on personal recognizance bonds of $15,000.

Anyone with further information about the case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 803-283-3388 or Midlands Crimestoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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