Crime & Courts

SC guard smuggled marijuana, contraband into prisons, police say

A correctional officer who worked at Lee Correctional Institution was arrested Sunday after she tried bringing contraband into the prison, according to a statement from the S.C. Department of Corrections.

Uniqueqa Akeema James was charged with misconduct in office, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and furnishing a prisoner with contraband, according to the statement.

The guard was found trying to bring 125 grams of marijuana into Lee Correctional, according to her arrest affidavit.

James worked at Lee Correctional since April 2017, according to the statement.

Since the riot at Lee Correctional in April — which resulted in seven deaths and 22 injuries — officials say they are cracking down on contraband. The day after the riot, SCDC Director Brian Stirling said the deadly incident was gang related and was over contraband cellphones in the prison.

In late April, 14 former SCDC employees were indicted by a federal grand jury on contraband-related charges.