A former correctional officer at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for smuggling drugs and a cellphone to an inmate at the facility.
According to a State Attorney’s Office press release issued Oct. 1, Mia Martinez-Welch, 22, entered a plea to unlawful use of a two-way communications device to facilitate the commission of a felony and introduction of contraband.
The charges stemmed from an investigation into a contraband cellphone seized from an inmate dormitory at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. Records extracted from the phone revealed that several female correctional officers employed at the prison, including Martinez-Welch, were having contact with the inmate connected to the phone.
Text messages between the inmate and Martinez-Welch indicated that while working as a correctional officer, she had been smuggling tobacco and narcotics (including methamphetamine and MDMA, better known as Ecstasy) into the prison for the inmate.
Martinez-Welch was terminated following her arrest in November 2018.
The investigation and arrest were conducted by the Office of Inspector General. Assistant State Attorney Amber Rowland prosecuted the case for the state, and the sentence was handed down by Circuit Judge Darlene Dickey.
As seen in the Oct. 10 issue of Navarre Press.
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