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MCI officer arrested

John Willoughby: Greene Publishing, Inc.

A Madison Correctional Institute (MCI) employee who serves as a correctional officer has been arrested after attempting to enter the local correctional facility with contraband.

On Sunday, July 14, at approximately 10:48 a.m., Madison County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) Deputy K. Goins was dispatched to MCI in reference to a correctional officer introducing contraband into the facility. A Sergeant with the local Florida Department of Corrections facility informed Dep. Goins that Officer Shondale Jose Bennett, 20, of Valdosta, was attempting to clear the metal detector inside the secure perimeter when she observed a noticeable bulge in Bennett's waistline area. The Sergeant asked Bennett if he was in possession of any contraband, and to that, he responded, "No."

The Sergeant advised another Sergeant to conduct a clothed pat search of Bennett, to which he discovered several packages concealed in black electrical tape, hidden inside his waistline and right pocket. The report also states that Officer Bennett was in possession of an open bag of potato chips which contained a number of cigarettes. There were also two plastic beverage containers which, according to Bennett, contained alcohol.

Upon investigation of the packages concealed with black electrical tape, the following was discovered on Bennett's person: 50 capsules of positively-tested cocaine; 109 grams (including package weight) positively-tested methamphetamine; 275 grams (including package weight) of positively-tested synthetic marijuana; a red Bic lighter; a light blue Bic lighter; five packaged black-and-mild cigars; 138 (including package weight) of non-filtered tobacco cigarettes; 176 grams (including package weight) of filtered tobacco cigarettes; and 44 ounces of an alcoholic beverage, based on Bennett's own admission.

Additionally, Bennett admitted that an inmate at MCI offered to pay him approximately $1,200 if he would bring in the contraband.

Bennett was arrested on charges of introducing/possessing unlawful article (contraband) into a correctional facility, two counts of trafficking in controlled substance and unlawful compensation/reward.

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