Former correctional officer charged in gang-related criminal conspiracy

Former correctional officer charged in criminal conspiracy
Posted at 12:41 PM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-06 09:08:47-04

LIVE OAK, Fla. (WTXL) -  A former Suwannee County correctional officer has been arrested after she admitted to sneaking in contraband for an inmate she had a sexual relationship with.

Former correctional officer Susan Danielle Penuel was charged with two counts of bribery/unlawful compensation and one count of introduction of contraband following an investigation.

According to an affidavit for Penuel's arrest, the investigation on her started in July 2017 after they received a report from another correctional officer who said he was contacted by a close friend about an officer at the Suwannee Correctional Institution being in a sexual relationship with an inmate.

An investigation revealed that a witness discovered that for the past three to four months, Penuel had been in a relationship with an inmate, turning over texts to authorities as proof. 

Investigators met up with Penuel after hearing from witnesses and she admitted to having a sexual relationship with an inmate. 

She revealed that the relationship had been going on for six months, further admitting that she introduced "copious amounts of contraband into the facility ranging from illegal narcotics such as synthetic cannabinoids, MDMA, marijuana, cellular phones, cigarettes, alcohol and food."

Penuel told authorities that the inmates would wire money to her to buy the drugs and cover her expenses to pick the money up through MoneyGram. She also gave investigators permission to search through her text messages.

When they did, the they found clear evidence to suggest that Penuel was part of a criminal conspiracy involving the inmate's gang on the outside. 

In September, the state attorney's office agreed to seek criminal charges against Penuel. 

On Thursday, she was charged and turned herself into the Suwannee County Jail.