Lancaster County officer charged for bringing drugs, phones to inmates

Paul Sweet
Paul Sweet

A Lancaster County Detention Center officer was fired and charged with bringing a cell phone and other banned items to inmates, according to Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.

Christopher Paul Sweet, 33, of Fort Mill, was interviewed Monday, fired and taken into custody, according to the sheriff’s office. Sweet is charged with furnishing contraband to a county prisoner and with misconduct in office.

Corrections employees found a phone Jan. 2 in the common area of a cell, and an inmate claimed the phone after an investigation, according to a report. Investigators searched the phone after obtaining a warrant, the report says.

Sheriff Barry Faile said cell phones allow inmates to communicate outside detention center walls and arrange illegal activities.

“Contraband in jails and prisons is a huge safety concern,” he said. “Seemingly harmless items can be used as currency for commerce among inmates, give some inmates advantages over others and create disputes among inmates. These activities create danger to inmates, corrections staff and the public who might be in the facility.”

Sweet was with the sheriff’s office as an officer since November 2015.

“We thoroughly investigate the backgrounds of correctional officer candidates with the intent to weed out those who might fall to the temptations offered by certain inmates,” Faile said. “Sweet stepped into this trap. His actions were intolerable, and he put his coworkers at risk.”

Sweet is charged with taking cell phones, chargers, marijuana, cigarettes, lighters and other contraband items into the detention center and making them available to inmates between September 2017 and the end of the year, the sheriff’s office said.

Sweet was released on a $15,000 bond Tuesday.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082