Statement from DC Secretary Walt McNeil Regarding Officer Arrest
July 1, 2009
Collier County – Everglades Correctional Officer Shamel Watson was arrested for drug trafficking, conspiracy to introduce drugs into a correctional facility and bribery after allegedly agreeing to smuggle two cell phones, 1 pound of marijuana and 4 ounces of cocaine into Everglades Correctional Institution.
“I am appalled with the behavior of this officer and want to send a strong message that we will not tolerate criminal behavior inside our prisons by inmates or staff,” said Department of Corrections Secretary Walt McNeil. “The Department’s Inspector General’s office has the authority and resources to rid the Department of any corruption,” says McNeil.
Watson is being immediately terminated and we are working with law enforcement to ensure he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The Department’s Inspector General’s Office began the investigation in May after receiving information from an informant. Watson thought he was picking up drugs and cell phones from an inmate family member to smuggle into the prison. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the operation and made the arrest.
“This Department has a proud history of dedicated public service,” said Secretary McNeil. “Incidents like this cannot be allowed to dishonor the reputations of thousands of hardworking officers who daily go in harms way to protect the public.”
This incident remains under investigation by the Florida Department of Corrections. For more information contact the Office of Public Affairs at (850) 488-0420 or (850) 778-6758.