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D.C. corrections officer arrested after dog detects marijuana in jail locker

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Local,DC,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

A corrections officer at the D.C. Jail has been arrested for having marijuana in his locker at the facility after a police dog detected the presence of the drug, according to a court document.

Jonathan Womble was charged Wednesday with introducing contraband into prison. If guilty, he could face up to five years behind bars.

Womble, 26, has worked as a corrections officer at the D.C. Jail since May 2008 and has a locker at the facility. The jail, located at 1901 D St. SE, houses male inmates, most of whom are awaiting judgment or have been sentenced for misdemeanor offenses.

According to a charging document, a handler for the jail's K-9 unit entered the men's locker room on Tuesday morning to use the bathroom and had his drug-detection dog with him. The dog signaled that there were drugs in Womble's locker.

The handler contacted another corrections officer who was also a K-9 handler for the jail. That officer's dog also signaled the presence of drugs in Womble's locker.

The first K-9 handler opened Womble's locker and found a large Ziploc bag that contained a green, leafy substance. The bag contained six smaller plastic bags that were filled with the substance, "each ranging in size from about the size of a golf ball to a lemon," the court document stated.

A test of one of the bag's contents indicated that it contained THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Womble's locker also contained a Department of Corrections-issued vest with his name tag and a "dryer sheet" that is often used to mask the smell of illicit substances, according to the charging document.

Court records show Womble was released on personal recognizance and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for March 8 in D.C. federal court.

Womble is the most recent corrections officer at the D.C. Jail to face criminal charges. Former corrections officer Victor Bell, who admitted to punching an inmate, was sentenced to 10 months in jail last summer. Bell has appealed his judgment.

Last month, Lewis Jackson, who worked as a doctor at the D.C. Jail, pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to sexually abusing an inmate at the jail in 2008.

njagoda@washingtonexaminer.com

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