WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — An investigation by the Polk County Sheriff's Office resulted in the arrests of three Florida Department of Corrections officers.
- Victor Medina, Nathan Lucy, Jules Loya arrested
- Sheriff Grady Judd says guards took cash, cell phone, cigarettes
- The DOC officers confessed, Judd says
- More Polk County headlines
The officers at Avon Park Correctional have been accused of smuggling contraband into the jail. The month-long investigation began in mid-September.
Sheriff Grady Judd called the issue systemic and he believes it's happening across the nation.
Polk Corrections officers (L to R) Jules Loya, Nathan Lucy and Victor Medina were arrested and accused of smuggling contraband into the jail. (Polk Sheriff's Office)
The guards are accused of taking cash, a cell phone and cigarettes from an undercover Polk deputy posing as family members and taking it into the prison — and in one case attempting to smuggle cigarettes and a cell phone SIM card.
Corrections officers Victor Medina, Nathan Lucy and Jules Loya were arrested.
Judd said video shows Medina accepting $600 from an undercover deputy at Walmart.
The agreement was that Medina would keep half of it and give the other half to an inmate, Judd said.
The sheriff said serial numbers on the cash confirmed that the money did make it into the prison.
"Here's a word for correction officers across the state," Judd said. "If you're crooked, figure out a way to decide you want an employment change and resign. If you're hanging around and on the take, we're going to arrest you."
Judd said the three corrections officers confessed. Two of them had been working in their role for less than a year and hadn't finished training.
Judd said a shortage of correctional officers led to their hiring.
"It's ripe for corruption when you don't pay. It's ripe for corruption when you don't have the opportunity to give polygraphs. It's ripe for corruption when you don't send them to the school first which teaches them how to keep people safe," he said.
Medina bonded out of jail. Loya and Lucy remained in custody.