Do not take pot to work with you when you work at the jail

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Sheriff Rick Staly of Flagler County called a press conference yesterday to confirm details about the arrest of a civilian employee charged with a felony for allegedly stashing marijuana in her locker at work.

Taken into custody was 30-year-old Victoria Ferguson, who was to celebrate her first year at the agency later this month. Deputies determined that she had under 20 grams of marijuana, itself a minor misdemeanor. But because the pot was in her locker at the jail, she was also charged with introduction of contraband into a detention facility, which is a felony.

“I am very disappointed that a Sheriff’s Office employee would violate our drug free workplace and other policies and bring drugs into the jail,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “I will not tolerate employees tarnishing the good reputation of our agency and the many men and women that work hard to serve our community in an ethical and professional manner.”

The discovery was part of a routine sweep by narcotics deputies with a K-9 through the jail. Tag, the K-9, alerted deputies to the presence of narcotics in a locker in the employees’ break room. The dog sniffed up Locker #13.

“Before Ferguson opened her locker at 11:30 a.m., a sergeant opened the locker with a master key that opens all lockers, then removed a small blue and pink backpack. The pot was allegedly in her wallet in a small sandwich-style baggie,” according to Ferguson’s arrest report.

Ferguson, according to the arrest report, said her job is a little stressful, and that the marijuana was for personal use. CCTV employees don’t routinely encounter inmates, but there is “incidental” contact, a sheriff’s official said Tuesday. Asked if she’d ever distributed any of the pot to other employees or inmates, Ferguson said no.

Moments later, Ferguson went from surveilling inmates to being one, held on $3,000 bond. The incident developed as the sheriff was holding a press conference with two other regional sheriffs on a seven-month operation focusing on narcotics and resulting in the arrests of 45 people in Flagler alone.

The county jail has had its run of problems in the past year, with the resignation of three corrections deputies last year, after the deputies were investigated for sexual improprieties, a deputy resigning under the cloud of an improper relationship with an inmate last October, a deputy suspended for reporting to work drunk in late March, and now the Ferguson matter.

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