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Manatee sheriff: Jail employee arrested after bringing drugs into facility

At least three inmates also face charges related to the contraband scheme.

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — A woman working at the Manatee County Jail was arrested after bringing contraband into the facility, the sheriff's office said. 

The investigation began on Jan. 23 when deputies and K-9 found controlled substances in two separate cells inside the jail, according to a release.

Following the discovery, deputies say they continued to investigate, eventually learning a food services crew leader was involved in the scheme and working with an inmate.

The release says 64-year-old Gretchen Rupprecht admitted to investigators she was involved in the scheme to bring contraband into the facility. 

Rupprecht was immediately booked on two counts of introduction of contraband. 

The sheriff's office says at least three inmates also face charges related to the scheme. 

The criminal and internal investigations are continuing, the agency says. 

Sheriff Rick Wells is expected to give more information on the investigations at 1 p.m. Friday. 

The sheriff's office says Rupprecht was hired in June 2020 as a food services worker at the Manatee County Jail. She was fired immediately after she was arrested on these charges.