3 COs arrested after trying to smuggle drugs, wire cutters and phones

The officers were trying to smuggle contraband into two separate facilities


By Emily Bohatch
The State 

COLUMBIA, SC — Three South Carolina prison guards were arrested after bringing drugs or contraband — including marijuana and cell phones — into two separate correctional institutions, according to a statement from the Department of Corrections.

Yolanda Whitaker, Yvanda Maria Hardy and Carmen Bess Jenkins were arrested by SCDC Police Services after officers discovered their attempts, according to the statement.

Whitaker, who was a guard at Kershaw Correctional Institution, was arrested Nov. 2 after she tried to bring contraband into a prison in Kershaw nine months before, according to her arrest warrant. In February, she hid 20 cellphones, a pair of wire cutters, 3.5 pounds of tobacco, lighters and rolling papers into a speaker box and sent it to the prison through the mail.

After her arrest, Whitaker was charged with attempting to furnish a prisoner with contraband. according to the statement.

Kershaw Correctional Institution is a Level 2, medium security facility.

Hardy, who was arrested on Nov. 3, was working as a guard at McCormick Correctional Institution when she tried to bring marijuana into the prison, according to her arrest warrants. She was charged with attempting to furnish a prisoner with contraband, manufacturing or possession of drugs and attempt and conspiracy to introduce drugs.

Another guard at McCormick C.I., Jenkins was arrested on Nov. 4 after she was caught bringing 142.9 grams of marijuana and liquid perfume into the prison, according to her arrest warrants. She’d wrapped the substances in black electrical tape and planned to give them to an inmate.

Jenkins was charged with attempting to furnish a prisoner with contraband, manufacturing or possession of drugs and attempt and conspiracy to introduce drugs.

McCormick C.I. is a Level 3 facility, housing some of South Carolina’s more violent offenders.

The trio were not the first guards arrested during the last month. On Oct. 29, SCDC officials announced they arrested an guard who was potentially in a relationship with an inmate and smuggling in contraband.

Officials say they found the Lieber Correctional Institution guard bringing a gun onto prison grounds. The guard was also engaging in sexual activity with an inmate, according to her arrest warrants.

In late October, an Evans Correctional Institution officer was charged after trying to smuggle drugs into the prison. The guard tried to hide Oxycodone, MDMA and cigarettes in his crotch area, and was found with synthetic marijuana in his car.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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