A 33-year-old Durango man has been charged on suspicion of smuggling heroin into the La Plata County Jail, an event that implicated more than 10 inmates, many of whom became ill as a result of the drug.
Sixth Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne said Wednesday the charges were filed last week. Champagne declined to comment further because it is an open case.
According to court documents, Aaron David Claycomb was charged with one count of introducing contraband drugs for allegedly bringing drugs into the jail on Nov. 3 or Nov. 4.
Claycomb’s first court date is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb 20. He was in custody Wednesday at the La Plata County Jail.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in November it was investigating the presence of drugs in the jail after authorities suspected illegal substances were smuggled in, causing inmates to become ill.
“We’re trying to determine how it was done and how far it goes,” Sheriff Sean Smith said at the time.
Smith did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday morning.
More than 10 inmates were involved in the incident, though only Claycomb is suspected of smuggling substances into the jail. While some inmates became ill after taking the drug, no one required transport to the hospital, Smith said.
Inmates who ingested the drug were put on a disciplinary process, which included urine analysis and revocation of earned time, among other measures, Smith said.
Smith said it is a constant battle not just for the La Plata County Jail but for detention facilities across the country to stop contraband drugs from being introduced into jails.
During the past two years, the county jail has booked more than 6,000 people. During that time, there have been eight known cases of people smuggling drugs into the facility, Smith said.
“I know that sounds like a lot, but this stuff happens in jails and prisons everywhere and every day,” he said in a previous interview.
Smith said staff shortages at the jail are a contributing factor to managing the problem.