Jail guard caught on tape smuggling contraband | News
Clearwater, Florida -- Onions, bell peppers, several spices, some Skittles, a couple of movies... and of course, alcohol, are a great recipe for a fun night. That is, unless you're a detention deputy bringing it to an inmate you're supposed to be guarding. Then it's a recipe for ruining your career and becoming the center of a federal investigation.
Two federal inmates who were being held at the Pinellas County Jail for the US Marshal Service told investigators all those items were smuggled in by Detention Deputy Trudy Carroll.
"It does happen from time to time where we have people bring things into the jail that don't belong there," says Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri when he talked with the 10 News Investigators at his office.
But Sheriff Gualtieri believes this case is more strange than the usual smuggling case.
"It is bizarre because of what she brought in: fruits, vegetables, onions and that type of thing... and spices for food."
According to the investigation, inmate Christopher Quinn developed a close, almost romantic relationship with Detention Deputy Carroll and that's where the vegetables literally come in.
Federal prisoners Eric Bell and Kenel Cherfils became snitches and told their attorneys what was going on and they alerted the US Attorney's Office and the FBI.
They also say she brought Bell two movies: "Columbiana," a movie that website IMDB describes as being about a young woman who becomes an assassin after seeing her parents murdered, and the teen vampire movie "Twilight." She brought the movies in on a jump drive.
"She brought it in a backpack. She showed the inmates some movies, all of which is improper and we're not going to tolerate that," says Gualtieri.
The federal inmates housed at the Pinellas County Jail insist that in addition to the spices, the vegetables, and the movies, Carroll also smuggled in drugs and alcohol.
They claim she hid ecstasy in a Skittles bag and gave it to Bell, along with alcohol that he mixed with juice for his own private bar behind bars.
But the sheriff says his investigators couldn't find any evidence of the alcohol or drugs and he doubts those two items came into the facility.
"As far as the alcohol or drugs, there is no indication of it. If there was, we could have established it and proved it, and it would have been a more serious incident," says Sheriff Gualtieri. He thinks the snitches embellished their stories to get a break on their sentences.
Deputy Caroll admitted to bringing in contraband to Bell using the excuse that he was a model inmate and she wanted to reward his behavior, but adamantly denies supplying alcohol and ecstasy.
She was allowed to resign and will not be prosecuted, but the sheriff's office has asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to strip Caroll of her certification, which means she will never be able to work law enforcement even again.