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Redmond O'Neal, the son of actor Ryan O'Neal and actress Farrah Fawcett (sadly also in the news after being hospitalized in relation to her cancer treatment) was arrested over the weekend on charges of bringing narcotics to a jail facility and possessing a controlled substance.
As described by CNN:
"The younger O'Neal was stopped during a routine search at a jail security checkpoint and he volunteered that he had drugs in his possession, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's office."
TMZ added that apparently O'Neal had dropped off two friends at the detention center in Castaic, California, to visit an inmate when his car was stopped while on prison grounds.
Routine searches of visitors at jails are common and each prison usually has specific guidelines posted for such searches on their grounds. The law often justifies the searches based on the safety needs of both inmates and prison employees, as well as the commonplace smuggling of goods ranging from the more innocuous (e.g. cigarettes) to the nefarious (drugs, weapons, tools, etc.).
In Redmond O'Neal's case, California Penal Code section 4573 makes it a felony to "knowingly bring" a controlled substance into any jail or prison (including the "grounds belonging to the institution"), punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years. The law does, however, require that each prison or jail "clearly and prominently" post the rules and penalties outside, and at the entrance to, the detention facility. The related possession offense carries the same penalty.
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