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Jail officer, 6 others, charged with smuggling drugs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Seven people, including a former jail officer, are facing federal charges in connection with a scheme to smuggle drugs into a southern New Mexico detention facility, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Joe Anthony Garcia, 46, resigned from his position at the Doña Ana County Detention Center after his interview with the FBI in January, according to a county spokeswoman.

Federal prosecutors say three male inmates asked their girlfriends to arrange to deliver drugs to Garcia, who would sneak them into the facility.

According to an indictment and the corresponding news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

Aaron Reed, an inmate at the jail, told his girlfriend Ashley Silva that he knew a corrections officer who would be willing to bring contraband into the facility for between $200 and $250. Two other inmates, Dominic Garcia and Jose Caro, asked their girlfriends to take drugs to Silva.

On Jan. 24, Angel Destiny Ortega brought Silva buprenorphine and, two days later, Marie Cadney met Silva at a Taco Bell in Las Cruces, and gave her a mixture of meth and buprenorphine. Silva then met Joe Anthony Garcia and turned the drugs over to him. According to prosecutors, Silva discussed the transactions over the phone with Reed and others, and gave Joe Anthony Garcia drugs concealed in balloons of different colors to identify the intended recipient.

In a statement Monday, Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias said it was of great concern that anyone would attempt to bring drugs into the facility.

“To know it was an employee underscores our commitment to cooperate fully with the investigation and prosecution of anyone engaging in this activity,” he said.

The indictment charges all the defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to provide prohibited objects to inmates. Ortega, Cadney and Silva are charged with one count each of distribution of buprenorphine, and Cadney and Silva also face one count each of distribution of meth. Joe Anthony Garcia is accused of possession with intent to distribute and attempting to provide prohibited objects to an inmate.

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