Correctional Employee Arrested on Multiple Charges

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center yesterday arrested Sumter Correctional Institution (SCCI) employee Sara Starnes, 24, of Webster, Fla. for attempting to introduce contraband and illegal drugs into a correctional facility for monetary benefit.

The FDLE investigation began February 19 after receiving information from the Florida Department of Corrections Inspector General’s Office. Following multiple telephone conversations with an undercover FDLE agent, Starnes, a SCCI food service employee, agreed to introduce a half pound of marijuana and 20 ecstasy pills into the SCCI in exchange for $700.

Starnes met with the undercover agent at a Bushnell department store where she took possession of the drugs and money and described how she planned to introduce the contraband into the correctional facility. She was arrested without incident.

Starnes was charged with one count of attempted introduction of contraband into a detention facility, a second-degree felony; one count of official misconduct, a third-degree felony; possession of MDMA, a first-degree felony; and one count of felony possession of marijuana, a third-degree felony.

Starnes was booked in the Sumter County Jail. This case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the 5th Judicial Circuit.

This case is active and ongoing.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001