South Carolina

After trying to smuggle drugs, wire cutters and phones into SC prison, 3 arrested, cops say

SC Governor says prisoner access to cell phones has got to stop

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster and SCDC director Bryan Sterling are fighting to prevent prisoners from obtaining contraband cell phones and to block cell reception over prisons.
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South Carolina governor Henry McMaster and SCDC director Bryan Sterling are fighting to prevent prisoners from obtaining contraband cell phones and to block cell reception over prisons.

Three South Carolina prison visitors were arrested after bringing drugs or contraband — including marijuana and cellphones — 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 trying to smuggle contraband into 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 in 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.

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Hardy, who was arrested on Nov. 3, attempted to bring marijuana into McCormick Correctional Institution, 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.

Jenkins, also arrested at McCormick, was apprehended 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 had 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 Correctional Institution is a level 3 facility, housing some of South Carolina’s more violent offenders.

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The trio were not the first 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.

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Emily Bohatch is a breaking news reporter for The State. She also updates The State’s databases. Her accomplishments include winning a Green Eyeshade award in Disaster Reporting in 2018 for her teamwork reporting on Hurricane Irma. She has a degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish from Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism.


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