Polk County Sheriff's Office employee accused of meth possession

Deputies say woman's boyfriend left box with drugs, needles in children's reach


POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A couple has been arrested after officials from the Polk County Sheriff's Office said they both used methamphetamine and put the man's children in danger by doing so. Deputies said the woman had been working for the Sheriff's Office since 1994.

Gwendolyn Laughery, 41, was arrested Wednesday on drug possession charges. Her boyfriend, 36-year-old Jeremy Owens, was charged with drug possession and negligent child abuse. 

Deputies said that Laughery had been working in the telecommunications center of the Sheriff's Office since she was moved there in 1996. She resigned after telling investigators she had been using both methamphetamine and marijuana for the past three to five months, according to a news release.

Authorities said they met with Owens after arresting Laughery. He turned over a box with used needles, plastic bags, a spoon with burnt methamphetamine residue and marijuana, deputies said. The box was easily accessible by Owens' three children, according to the news release.

Investigators said Owens' criminal history includes 13 misdemeanor charges and nine felony charges, some of which include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, theft and drug possession.

Laughery has been released from the Polk County Jail after paying a $1,500 bond. Owens is still being held and is not eligible for bond.