FLORENCE — A Lauderdale County Detention Center corrections officer was arrested Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of attempting to promote prison contraband, authorities said.

Garrett Mason is charged with third-degree attempting to promote prison contraband, Sheriff Rick Singleton said. He has been released on a $300 bond.

Mason, who had been with the department for approximately three months, was terminated, the sheriff said.

The contraband included cigarettes and other substances that have been turned over to the Lauderdale County Drug Task Force, which will test them to determine whether they are drugs, Singleton said.

The sheriff said something had been hidden somewhere on Mason's vehicle in the employee parking lot of the jail.

"He had some stuff left on his car for him and he got a little concerned about it," Singleton said. "He self-reported it, but during the investigation we found out it had happened before. For whatever reason, he decided not to carry it in and reported it, which is to his credit, but even under those circumstances we can't just turn our head to it. It had to have been prearranged."

Sheriff's office investigators took a statement from Mason and he turned himself in Wednesday morning and made bond, Singleton said.

The sheriff said they warn jailers about contraband and repercussions of bringing it into the jail. He said the discussions include the fact that inmates will approach them about promoting contraband.

"With that environment down there, I tell them it's not a question of if, it's a question of when it will happen," Singleton said. "Unfortunately, it's not the first case, but hopefully it will be the last. It's just the nature of the beast in that work environment."

bernie.delinski@timesdaily.com or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski

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