Photo: Chad Benfield, courtesy of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office.

CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A man previously convicted of criminally negligent homicide is facing new charges after an officer at the Carter County Jail reportedly found drugs hidden in a book intended for him.

According to a jail incident report by a Carter County officer, a woman arrived at the detention center with a bag of books on Oct. 3, 2022. The woman reportedly told the officer that she was there to donate the books to the facility, except for one specific book that was supposed to go to Chad Benfield.

The report states the book, entitled “Dictionary of Legal Terms,” was collected along with the rest. Upon closer examination, the officer reported there were bulges in the front and back covers of the book intended for Benfield.

Photo: Reginald Garner, courtesy of the Carter County Sheriff’s Office

Double-sided tape had been used to cover sealed bags at the front and back of the book, the report states. According to the officer, one bag contained an orange powder believed to be suboxone, and the other contained a white powder believed to be methamphetamine.

Authorities at the jail began investigating calls made by Benfield and others close to him. The report states that his cellmate, Reginald Garner, had made a call to a woman asking if she could “bring that book today.” The woman could reportedly be heard saying she was on her way with the dictionary.

An investigation led officers to identify the woman, whose name was redacted from the report due to pending charges.

The substances and evidence were submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and Benfield and Garner were both charged with the following:

  • Delivery of methamphetamine (1/2 gram or more)
  • Introduction of contraband in penal facility
  • Delivery of Schedule III
  • Conspiracy to introduce contraband

Benfield and Garner were each given a $50,000 bond for the new charges.

Benfield was sentenced to six years in February 2022 after he was found guilty of two counts of criminally negligent homicide in the 2017 death of 89-year-old Mary Nolen. At the time of his sentencing on the homicide charges, Benfield was also facing 177 counts of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor.

Benfield is set to appear in court on those sexual exploitation charges on Feb. 8, 2023.