Detention officer arrested for smuggling narcotics, contraband

CNJ staff

A detention officer at the Curry County Adult Detention Center was arrested Thursday afternoon for smuggling narcotics and other contraband items into the jail, according to the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

Julian Patrick Garcia, 36, is being held at held at the Curry County Detention Center on a $56,000 bond.

He is the third detention center officer to be arrested this year trying to smuggle drugs into the jail.

Sheriff’s officials said they began monitoring inmates telephone calls from the jail July 1 after they received information from an anonymous citizen who gave them a list of inmates suspected of receiving contraband.

Investigators intercepted a call from one inmate to a female in which the inmate told her to prepare a package with two ounces of marijuana, two rocks of cocaine and a pipe. He told her a detention officer would be coming to her house to pick up the package, the release said.

Officers and detention center administrators met Garcia as he arrived at work and he turned over a package containing cocaine, marijuana, a crack pipe, cigarette rolling papers and tobacco, the release said.

During a search of Garcia’s vehicle in the detention center parking lot, investigators found a second package containing marijuana and tobacco under a child restraint seat, the release said.

Garcia was immediately terminated upon discovery of the drugs, the release said.

According to county records, Garcia had been employed at the detention center less than a month. He was hired July 7 at an annual salary of $24,206.

Charges against the inmate who requested the package are pending, according to Undersheriff Wesley Waller.

Sheriff’s investigators are continuing their investigation and said more arrests are expected. Waller said he would not elaborate on whether expected arrests would include detention officers or inmates.

According to a press release from the sheriff’s department, Garcia is charged with:

• possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (cocaine)

• possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (marijuana over one ounce)

• possession of drug paraphernalia, misdemeanor

• bringing contraband into places of imprisonment, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances (cocaine and marijuana)

• attempt to commit a felony (furnishing drugs to a prisoner)