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LCI officer arrested for smuggling in synthetic marijuana to inmates

by Teresa Eubanks,

Journal Editor

A Liberty Correctional Institution (LCI) officer has been charged with 12 counts each of introduction of contraband into a prison and unlawful compensation for official behavior following an investigation by the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC).

Ryan Michael Essman, 27, of Chattahoochee was booked into the Liberty County Jail Nov. 21.

Essman had worked at LCI for just over four months, from Feb. 27 to July 10 of this year, according to the FDOC.

The case started after an inmate told an investigator with the FDOC Office of Inspector General that he arranged for Essman to bring in synthetic marijuana and had his girlfriend send the correctional officer $90 through Western Union.

A record of Essman’s Western Union transactions showed that he received varying amounts of money from inmates’ friends and family members on 12 occasions between April 20 and July 4, collecting a total of $1,340.

Store security cameras documented the correctional officer picking up the funds each time from the Winn Dixie in Quincy. An arrest affidavit indicated that while he usually arrived at the store in plain clothes to pick up the money, he was seen on camera at least once wearing his state-issued uniform pants and a white t-shirt.

Just the week before Essman was charged, an employee with Calhoun Correctional Institution was arrested for delivering synthetic cannabis to an inmate, who retrieved the contraband from a staff bathroom trash can. Jesse Cardwell, 28, of Eastpoint was arrested Nov. 15 on one count each of introduction of contraband into a prison and unlawful compensation.

The FDOC acknowledged the assistance of the local sheriff’s offices and state attorneys with each case.

Essman is being held on $60,000 bond.

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Date
December 1st, 2017

Author
Staff

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