• Deputies: Inmates caught smuggling soda, candy, sneakers into Marion County Jail


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Officials with the Marion County Sheriff's Office said deputies broke up a scheme to smuggle sweets into the county jail.

    Detectives said four people, including two inmates, were part of the plan to sneak in candy, soda and sneakers.

    Channel 9's Berndt Petersen found even though the items seem harmless, officials take the scheme very seriously.

    Marion County Jail inmate Danny Fletcher was considered somewhat of a model prisoner, but deputies said they busted Fletcher in connection with a scheme to smuggle contraband into the jail. 

    "This particular inmate was a trustee.  He had all the criteria in place so say that we can trust him in this particular location," said Judge Cochran of the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

    Fletcher, authorities said, was caught trying to smuggle in four bottles of Mountain Dew, several cans of snuff and lots of candy.
    Confiscated evidence also includes Skittles, Snickers bars, Reese's Pieces and gummy worms.

    "That kind of stuff, once inside a correctional facility, can be used for gambling, purposes of paying off debts," said Cochran. "It can cause more commotion inside a jail than you can imagine."

    Fletcher worked doing yard work at a University of Florida research farm in Citra, as inmates often do.

    Detectives said Fletcher's wife, Cynthia Fletcher, gave drugs to UF employee Marcus Hilton as payment to get the sweets to her husband and fellow inmate Christopher Sydenstricker.  

    No matter what inmates may try to sneak into the jail, officials said contraband is contraband.

    "If it's not supposed to be in the jail, if it's not supposed to be in the possession of inmates, it is considered contraband, and we take that really seriously," said Cochran.

    Each suspect faces a charge of conspiracy to introduce contraband into a correctional facility.

    The University of Florida employee also faces drug charges.

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    Deputies: Inmates caught smuggling soda, candy, sneakers into Marion County Jail