Seminole County detention deputy accused of smuggling controlled substances into jail

Starr Ariel Muhammad faces multiple felony charges

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday that a detention deputy assigned to the John E. Polk Correctional Facility was arrested for smuggling controlled substances into the jail.

Deputies said that Starr Ariel Muhammad, who has been with the agency since 2017, faces felony charges of the sale, manufacture or delivery of a schedule III controlled substance, and smuggling or introduction of contraband into a county detention facility.

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According to a press release, the sheriff’s office said it ”self-initiated” a criminal investigation on Friday, Nov. 25 after multiple illegal controlled substances, two electronic vape devices, and three vape cartridges with suspected THC oil were found in an inmate’s cell.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Muhammad concealed the contraband and delivered it to an inmate, the release states.

The sheriff’s office said Muhammad was placed on administrative suspension on Nov. 28 when the investigation began and booked in the jail on a $20,000 bond Tuesday evening.

The release also states that Muhammad was served a notice initiating the termination of her employment from SCSO.

“Muhammad’s actions are out of line with the norms, customs, and values of our organization, and she has completely violated the public trust and oath that she took. I am proud of the swift work that our investigators did to get to the bottom of this case. We will continue to investigate this matter internally and address any policy or procedure changes if needed,” Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said.

The sheriff’s department said that criminal and administrative investigations are ongoing, and the Office of the State Attorney, 18th Judicial Circuit, will prosecute the case.

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Jacob joined in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.