Eleven people, including one prison inmate, have been arrested and charged in connection with drug activity at the Utah State Prison.
The other 10 are seven Salt Lake-area residents and three former inmates now on parole.Lane McCotter, Department of Corrections executive director, said the arrests are part of an ongoing effort to reduce the flow of drugs into the prison in Draper.
"We're not naive enough to think that we can make the prison drug-free, but we want to make it one of the most drug-free in the country," McCotter said.
Lyle Wilde, who heads investigation efforts related to prison operations, said the confiscation of drugs being transported into the prison is important. He said drug and alcohol use in prison contributes to other problems and corruption inside the prison.
"We hope this makes a strong statement to suppliers outside the prison that they are not immune to prosecution," Wilde said.
The operation, which included assistance from law enforcement agencies in Davis, Weber and Salt Lake counties, confiscated three automobiles, $2,000 in cash and drugs valued at more than $10,000. The confiscated drugs includes 8.25 ounces of marijuana, 2 grams of heroin and 32.3 grams of cocaine.
Wilde said the inmate arrested was involved with the prison's home-visit program. Four "keester packs," described as balloons, baggies and other sealed containers designed to be hidden inside body cavities, were confiscated when the prisoner returned.
Wilde said it is believed the four packets confiscated were intended for four separate contacts within the prison and not an organized distribution ring.
Those arrested and the charges:
- Joe Chandler, 25, an inmate, three counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
- Michael Hancock, a parolee, two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute/cocaine.
- Tony Maestes, 30, distribution of a controlled substance/cocaine and possession of cocaine.
- Martin Cuevas, 34, distribution of a controlled substance/cocaine.
- Linda Montano, 31, distribution of a controlled substance/marijuana and possession with intent to distribute/marijuana.
- James Giffard, 31, distribution of a controlled substance/marijuana and possession of a controlled substance/marijuana.
- Janette Appleman, 24, arranging to distribute marijuana and arranging to distribute cocaine.
- Patricia Chacon, 30, arranging to distribute a controlled substance/marijuana.
- Hector Mureil, 29, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute/
- Juan Raminez, a parolee, parole fugitive.
- Willy Avila, a parolee, parole violations.
All the drug counts are first- and second-degree felonies, Wilde said.