Susan Danielle Penuel

Susan Danielle Penuel 

LIVE OAK, Fla. — A former Suwannee County correctional officer has been arrested for introducing contraband into Suwannee Correctional Institution for an inmate she had a sexual relationship with.

Susan Danielle Penuel, 52, was charged with two counts of unlawful compensation and introduction of contraband following an investigation. She turned herself into the Suwannee County Jail on Thursday. 

According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect became the subject of an investigation on July 17 after another correctional officer reported hearing about the sexual relationship from a friend. 

The report states the suspect resigned via telephone the morning of July 17 prior to Suwannee Correctional Institution becoming aware of her activities.

The investigation revealed that the suspect’s daughter discovered in May that for the past three to four months the suspect had been in a relationship with an inmate.

The daughter found text messages between the suspect, the inmate, the inmate’s mother and the inmate’s friend on the family’s iPad, which she saved on her phone.

According to the affidavit, the suspect was supposed to end the relationship if the daughter did not tell the suspect’s husband.

The affidavit stated that the daughter returned home from a weekend trip on July 16 and found the suspect on the phone with the inmate. The suspect handed her daughter the phone and said the inmate wanted to talk with the daughter the report states. 

According to the affidavit, when the daughter refused to speak with the inmate, the inmate began threatening the daughter’s life, indicating he knew where she lived and had friends outside of prison to kill her and her father.

The daughter called her father to come pick her up and told him and her brother what happened.  She sent her brother copies of the messages.

According to the arrest affidavit, the daughter was genuinely in fear of her life as she was aware that the inmate was a high-ranking gang member.

Investigators met with the suspect on July 19 and she admitted to being in a relationship with an inmate for about six months and admitted the relationship was sexual on multiple occasions.

She also admitted to introducing “copious amounts of contraband into the facility ranging from synthetic cannabinoids, MDMA, marijuana, cellular phones, cigarettes, alcohol and food.”

The suspect told the investigators other inmates would send the inmate’s mother money for the contraband.

The affidavit states the suspect received a total of $800 through MoneyGram on two occasions. 

According to the investigators, based on the text messages’ content it is clear this was a criminal conspiracy involving the inmate and members of his gang on the outside to introduce dangerous contraband into the correctional institution.

In September, the state’s attorney’s office agreed to seek criminal charges against the suspect.

Penuel’s bond has been set at $25,000 each for introduction of contraband and two counts of unlawful compensation.

Jessie R. Box is a reporter for the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press. Her beats include general assignment, government and police. ​

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