A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detention deputy has been arrested for bringing pot-laced food into the county jail and selling it to inmates, Sheriff Chad Chronister said Thursday.
Deputy Terry Bradford Jr., 25, was arrested Wednesday after he arrived for work at the Falkenburg Road Jail, Chronister said at a news conference. At the time of his arrest, Bradford had in his lunchbox more than a pound of cannabis-laced brownies individually wrapped for sale to inmates, Chronister said.
Bradford faces charges of introducing contraband into a jail facility and possession of a controlled substance. He was placed on unpaid administrative leave while the investigation is underway.
“He betrayed the trust of this agency, this office, strictly for greed purposes,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s office’s jail intelligence squad got a tip on Monday that Bradford was bringing “cannabis-laced perishables” and other contraband into the jail and selling it to inmates in the pod he was assigned to, Chronister said. Investigators learned the inmates were using Cash App to pay Bradford for the contraband. The investigation so far has uncovered more than $1,000 in transactions, Chronister said.
Investigators were still working Thursday to determine the extent of the transactions, which inmates were involved and whether any other deputies took part in the scheme, Chronister said.
“I think I can say in full confidence there’ll be some additional charges coming, I just don’t know on who yet,” he said.
Bradford joined the sheriff’s office as a pre-certified detention deputy in August 2021 and was assigned to the detention center in October 2021. He previously worked for the Florida Department of Corrections at the Zephyrhills Correctional Institute, according to the sheriff’s office.
Bradford was not showing up in Hillsborough County booking records on Thursday morning.
Chronister said the county’s jails have thorough screening processes but jail employees, who cannot leave during their shifts, are allowed to bring in food for their own consumption during work hours. The jail now provides free hot meals to employees, the sheriff said, a move he hopes will reduce the amount of food brought into the facility.
The sheriff’s office has also increased the number of screenings conducted at the jail by drug-sniffing dogs.