By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
PENDLETON, Ind. — A former correctional officer has been fired and faces criminal charges after admitting to attempting to smuggle drugs into prison.
Jeffrey D. Coleman, 39, of Indianapolis, is still being investigated by the internal affairs division of the Department of Correction, but has already been terminated from his position at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, said detective Bob May. Coleman was arrested Thursday night after a pat-down search by officers.
The five-year former guard faces charges of trafficking with an inmate, bribery and possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana, and is being held in Madison County Jail on $20,000 bond.
According to May, Coleman is also subject to a non-suspendable $5,000 fine, which is enacted whenever a prison guard engages in trafficking.
"Every employee and every person who comes to a prison is subject to a pat-down search, and that's in every facility across the state," May said. "And employees can be strip searched."
After the search of Coleman revealed some suspicious evidence, he was questioned and admitted he was going to try to smuggle marijuana and cellphones into the prison for money. Troopers found the contraband in Coleman's vehicle.
May said trafficking is always a problem at prison facilities because inmates are constantly badgering guards to smuggle desired items. May also said the DOC takes the issue very seriously because it's so prevalent.
"It's an inmate's full-time job to harass the guards. We make every effort to fire an employee if they're found to be trafficking," May said. "There's no kind of smuggling worth the price you pay if you get caught. Your career is over."
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