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Mobtown Beat

Former Correctional Officer Arrested for Bringing Drugs to Inmate

A former Maryland correctional officer (CO), Arnecia Renee Edwards, was arrested and charged in Somerset County Aug. 20 for bringing drugs to inmate Eugene Jones at the Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) in Princess Anne, according to court records and information from the Maryland State Police (MSP) and the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS).

Edwards, who is 39 and lives in Owings Mills, faces 12 counts of drug- and contraband-related charges. According to a statement from MSP Sgt. Keith Johnson, of the Princess Anne barracks, a prison camera recorded Edwards handing items to Jones, who was then searched and found to have “two small baggies of suspected” drugs.

In an e-mail exchange, DPSCS spokesman Mark Vernarelli confirms that Edwards was a CO from February 2002 until May 2009, when she resigned. She worked at the Pretrial Division, first at the Central Booking and Intake Center in Baltimore and later at the Baltimore City Detention Center, Vernarelli says.

Court records show Edwards was detained after her arrest until Aug. 22, when she posted $35,000 bail. She could not be reached for comment.

Edwards joins a growing roster of former Maryland COs in trouble with the law, including Alicia Simmons, who was indicted in July in federal court for her role in a racketeering indictment against the Black Guerilla Family prison gang. Federal civil-rights lawsuits filed by inmates claiming injustice at the hands of COs with gang ties have provided details indicating that DPSCS has failed to respond adequately to internal intelligence about bad COs, though the department claims to be working hard to clean up the problem.

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