Correctional Health Services employee accused of planning to smuggle drugs, other contraband into Miami-Dade jail

Junell Raquel Bess, 39, arrested at Metro-West Detention Facility

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A Correctional Health Services employee has been arrested by the Miami-Dade Police Department after they discovered that she was planning to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Metro-West Detention Facility, authorities said.

According to a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Corrections & Rehabilitation Department, CHS is the medical provider for the county’s inmate population, and their staff are employed by Jackson Health Systems.

The employee in question, Junell Raquel Bess, 39, was arrested Saturday night after arriving to the facility.

According to her arrest report, Bess is employed by a temporary staffing agency and has been assigned to the Metro West Detention Center on Northwest 41st Street since January.

The report states that she arrived to work just after 6:45 p.m. Saturday and police could smell a strong odor of marijuana emitting from Bess as they approached her.

Police said Bess was detained and transported to the police department’s Public Corruption Section for questioning.

According to authorities, Bess spontaneously stated that she was sorry and knew she was wrong.

She also admitted to having marijuana in her bra, the report stated.

According to police, two small bags of marijuana were found in Bess’s bra, along with four wrapped vape pens.

Ten pills of suspected oxycodone were found in a prescription bottle inside her purse, but the name on the bottle was not that of Bess, authorities said.

A statement Bess provided to detectives after being read her Miranda Rights was redacted from the publicly released report.

According to Corrections spokesperson Juan Diasgranados, Bess had tried to smuggle in a “substantial amount of contraband” into the Metro-West Detention Facility, including marijuana, vaping devices and other controlled substances.

“The ability for us to police ourselves and hold one another accountable is paramount in assuring the safety of our staff, our community, and the inmate population,” said Director James Reyes. “We will continue to exhaust all of the necessary resources and leverage our partnerships with other Miami-Dade County public safety stakeholders in order to assure we are operating safe and secure jails.”

Diasgranados added that smuggling illicit substances into the county’s jails could ultimately lead to medical emergencies and have “extremely dangerous consequences.”

Bess faces the following charges:

· Possession of Controlled Substance/Marijuana

· Possession of Controlled Substance/Oxycodone

· Intro/Contraband into Correction Facility/Marijuana

· Intro/Contraband into Correction Facility/Oxycodone

· Intro/Contraband into Correction Facility/Vapor-generate e-device

· Conspiracy to Intro/Contraband into Correction Facility – Marijuana

· Conspiracy to Intro/Contraband into Correction Facility – Oxycodone

“The actions of this CHS employee do not reflect the hundreds of hard-working men and women at the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department and Correctional Health Services,” Diasgranados said. “Due to the ongoing investigation, no further comment will be made at this time.”

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Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for