Guard arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle marijuana into penal institution in St. Gabriel

Tommy Comeaux

A prison employee was arrested for trying to smuggle about four ounces of marijuana into the Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, according to Police Chief Kevin Ambeau.

“We got a call from the prison (last) Tuesday that an employee of the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women was trying to smuggle a package of marijuana into the Hunt Correctional Center over the weekend while she was working overtime at that facility,” Ambeau said.

Samantha Suel, 29, 507 Catherine St., Donaldsonville, was booked into the West Baton Rouge Prison and charged with one count of malfeasance in office and two counts of the introduction of contraband into a penal institution. According to state law, both charges are felonies.

Ambeau said police believe Suel, a fulltime employee of the women’s prison, was attempting to get the marijuana into the prison by hiding it in her lunch bag, but panicked when she saw there was a surprise search going on and allegedly threw the duct tape-wrapped package behind a vending machine.

Major Douglas Teer of Elayne Hunt Correction Center “requested an officer to come and look at the security video to help determine if he sees the accused throw something behind the vending machine where later security officers found a tape wrapped package purported as being marijuana,” according to the affidavit that led to Suel’s arrest.

Two officers viewed the video “and together they couldn’t determine if she threw something,” the affidavit continues. One of the officers said in the affidavit that “it appears from her arm movement she could’ve thrown something behind the vending machine but it could not be seen clearly.”

When questioned by Asst. Warden ToddBarrere and Major Brian Landry about the incident “and the accused stated that she brought something into the prison,” according to the affidavit.

Teer waived her rights and said that while she was going through what she was bringing into the prison, “she found a silver duct tape package in her bag,” the affidavit states.

“She stated she panicked and threw the item behind the vending machine,” Ambeau said.

During an interview with St. Gabriel’s Det. James Williams, “the accused confessed to bringing in the wrapped package into the prison,” according to the affidavit, which continues, “she stated she was contacted by someone on the streets which she didn’t want to give a name to bring the package into the prison.”

“She stated she did not know who it was for and that the person stated that she would be contacted by someone inside,” the affidavit continues.