In September of 2018, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General initiated a joint investigation regarding possible smuggling of contraband into the Avon Park Correctional Institution located at 8100 Highway 64 East, Avon Park. The Inspector General’s Office had developed information that a corrections officer, or officers, may have been involved in bringing in contraband into the facility.
On September 13, 2018, Officer Jules Loya, 33, met a PCSO undercover detective in Frostproof, whom Loya believed was an Avon Park Correctional Intuition prison inmate’s relative. The detective provided Loya with two (2) packs of 305 cigarettes, two (2) cell phone SIM cards, and $400 in cash. The agreement was for Loya to bring these items into the prison later on that afternoon when he went into work at the prison. Further, the agreement was that Loya would keep $250 of the $400 given to him in exchange for him bringing in the remainder of the money, SIM cards, and cigarettes. When Loya entered the main unit of the Avon Park Prison later that day with the illegal contraband (currency, SIM cards, and cigarettes) on his person, he was told by supervision he was assigned to work in the work camp that day, which is a separate building on the compound. As Loya entered the work camp, the metal detector went off. Loya told staff he forgot he had something on him and he had to bring it out to his vehicle. Loya left the entrance and threw the items in a nearby trashcan outside the building, but kept the cash. Loya is charged with one count of introduction of currency to an inmate (F3) and one count of unauthorized compensation (M1). Loya was arrested in 2016 for knowingly driving with a license suspended or revoked.
On 09/27/2018, a PCSO undercover detective posed as an inmate’s relative and contacted 23-year-old corrections officer Nathan Lucy about bringing in money into the prison. Lucy agreed to meet up with the detective the following day in Lake Wales. During this meeting, the detective gave Lucy $200 in cash. The agreement was for Lucy to keep $100 and bring the remaining $100 to the inmate inside the prison.
On 09/28/2018, Lucy entered the Avon Park Work Camp with the money given to him by the undercover detective and gave it to the inmate. Detectives later identified currency turned over to the inmate through a matching serial number.
On 10/04/2018, the undercover detective contacted Lucy again about bringing in more money into the prison to give to the inmate. Later that day, Lucy met up with the detective in Eagle Lake wearing his DOC uniform. Lucy took $160 in cash and was told he could keep $100 for himself for bringing in the money to the inmate. Lucy gave the inmate the money later that day. Currency from the delivery was later confiscated by DOC personnel.
Lucy is charged with two counts of introduction of currency to an inmate (F3) one count of unauthorized compensation (M1) and one count prison employee receiving unauthorized compensation (M1).
On 10/08/2018, a PCSO undercover detective met with 25-year-old corrections officer Victor Medina at the Avon Park Walmart near the customer service center inside the store. During this meeting, the undercover detective provided Medina with $600. The agreement was for Victor Medina to keep $300 and to bring the remaining $300 into the prison and give it to the inmate.
On 10/09/2018, Medina handed the inmate within the Avon Park Prison the remaining $300 in cash. Victor Medina kept $300 for himself in exchange for bringing money into the prison. Later that day detectives were able to confirm the transaction through the serial numbers on the currency that the inmate had in his possession. Medina is now charged with one count introduction of currency to an inmate (F3) and one count unauthorized compensation (M1). Click here https://youtu.be/yQiEm-eCiz0 to see video of Medina meeting with an undercover detective. The flowers he is carrying are unrelated to this investigation.
“The Florida Department of Corrections Office of the Inspector General did an outstanding job working with us in this investigation. It is our intent these officers are held accountable for their illegal conduct.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
Medina has posted $1500 dollars bond. Loya is still in custody and being held on $2500 bond and Lucy is in custody with a $3,000 bond.
Per F.S.S. 119, the home addresses of state corrections officers are exempt from disclosure. All three officers were arrested on November 7, 2018 and booked into the Polk County Jail.