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Hillsborough jail nurse arrested for smuggling in drugs, Sheriff says

The nurse would bring drugs to an inmate who then sold them to other inmates, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff Sheriff’s Office.
A nurse was arrested for bringing contraband into the Falkenburg Road Jail, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
A nurse was arrested for bringing contraband into the Falkenburg Road Jail, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. [ Photo illustration by ASHLEY DYE and DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Apr. 5
Updated Apr. 6

A nurse who worked in the Hillsborough County jail faces charges after an investigation found she was bringing drugs into the facility for an inmate to sell, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Michelle Alaine Lipinski, 32, had been working in the Falkenburg Road jail since December. She worked for NaphCare, the company the Sheriff’s Office contracts to provide healthcare services for inmates.

Sheriff’s detectives found evidence that suggested Lipinski was bringing drugs into the jail on March 30, according to a news release. Lipinski was passing the drugs to Seneca Oryan Dukes, 40, who was booked into the jail in July on violation of probation charges, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Once he received drugs from Lipinski, Dukes would sell them throughout the jail, deputies said.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested Lipinski on Friday on charges of introduction of contraband into a detention facility and conspiracy to introduce contraband in a detention facility. Dukes was charged with conspiracy to introduce contraband in a detention facility.

Deputies also arrested Miriam Marti-Benning, 46, who told deputies that she picked up drugs like heroin and methamphetamine to give to Lipinski to bring to Duke, according to the Sheriff’s Office. She faces charges of conspiracy to introduce contraband and delivery of a controlled substance.

Lipinski was registered as a licensed practical nurse and a certified nursing assistant, according to the Florida Department of Health. She was released from jail on $6,000 bail. Marti-Benning was booked into jail without bail. At the time of her arrest she was on probation for other felony charges, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Merissa Lynn.

Dukes was previously interviewed by a Times reporter about the difficulty of adjusting to life after prison with the coronavirus. In the April 2020 interview, Dukes said he had lost a job at Applebee’s because of the virus.