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Jacksonville woman charged with smuggling gun into Duval County jail

‘This poses a safety hazard for everyone in that jail,’ expert says of incident

File photo of Duval County jail
File photo of Duval County jail

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman is accused of smuggling a loaded revolver into the Duval County jail following her arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The handgun, which contained six live rounds, went undetected for almost five hours after the woman was taken into custody despite multiple searches and a body scan.

Kaysha McCoy, 31, is charged with smuggling contraband into a detention facility, carrying a concealed firearm in a detention facility, both felonies, and misdemeanor driving under the influence, jail logs show. She remains in custody in lieu of $20,000 bond.

McCoy was behind the wheel of a Ford sedan that was pulled over near Beach Boulevard and St. Johns Bluff Road about 1 a.m. Dec. 4 because the vehicle’s headlights were switched off and the car sat idling at a green light, according to a copy of her arrest report.

Officers noted in the report that McCoy seemed confused, slurred her words and her breath smelled of alcohol. The report said McCoy, who denied having anything to drink, was arrested on suspicion of DUI after performing poorly on field sobriety tests and refusing a breath test.

She was brought into jail at 3:48 a.m., searched during intake and then taken into a separate room to change into a jail uniform, according to the report. She was then screened by a body scanner, which displayed a dark object in her pelvic area, and searched once more.

It wasn’t until 8:41 a.m. when she was taken to a third-floor housing unit that the firearm was found.

An officer-in-training searching McCoy felt a hard object near her groin and asked what it was. According to the report, McCoy reached into her pants and pulled out a revolver. The weapon was confiscated.

McCoy said she told corrections officers during intake that she had a tampon but denied having anything dangerous on her person, according to the report. It’s unclear what else she said because pieces of her statement were redacted from the report.

According to the report, McCoy alluded to having a gun during a phone call she made while being booked.

The delayed discovery raises questions from a local law enforcement expert who wonders why jail staff didn’t find the firearm sooner and whether the initial searches were thorough enough. News4Jax Crime and Safety Expert Ken Jefferson, a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer, chalked it up to human error.

“That’s what happened in this case because if they found (the gun later on), they could have found it initially,” Jefferson said Friday. “This poses a safety hazard for everyone in that jail because she could have taken out that weapon at any time and shot anybody including herself.”

Jefferson said this incident underscores the need for corrections officers to be careful when searching incoming inmates because it shows how easily a weapon can slip past multiple layers of security. He praised the trainee who ultimately found the gun.

“That officer had a good training officer,” he said. “If you’re in training, you’re more conscientious of doing everything right — because you are training and you want to get it right.”