TAMPA — A prison nurse from Valrico has been arrested and charged with armed cocaine trafficking.
Tampa Police detectives searched Oberdella Melvin's home early Wednesday and discovered close to 300 grams of cocaine, according to an arrest report.
Melvin, 46, who has worked at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution for six years, had 103 grams of crack cocaine, 191 grams of powder cocaine and various mixing bowls, digital scales, baggies and other paraphernalia at her 1105 Facet View Way residence, police said.
Deputies also found a revolver under her pillow.
Florida Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said the agency now is looking into Melvin's activities while on the job.
"At this point, it looks like she never tried to do anything inside the prison system," Plessinger said. "We're certainly disappointed to hear this, and we have concerns because of these charges."
Melvin joined the DOC in March 2002 and worked at the Zephyrhills the entire time, Plessinger said. The agency on Wednesday issued a notice to Melvin of "extraordinary dismissal" from her job.
Prison employees are subject to background checks, as well as random and frequent searches, as a matter of policy. Every employee entering a prison facility also is required to go through a metal detector, Plessinger said.
Melvin was being held without bail Wednesday on charges of armed cocaine trafficking, cocaine trafficking and possession of drug paraphernalia. State records indicated this was her first arrest.
According to DOC statistics, 310 agency employees were arrested in the 2006-07 year. One was arrested for introducing contraband into the system.