Jailhouse sting nets three bags of heroin

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By Carol A. Clark

Los Alamos County police hit paydirt Tuesday after keeping an inmate under surveillance for a week because their investigation revealed he was smuggling heroin into the jail.

Julian Montoya, 23, of Los Alamos was arrested and charged with transporting contraband, in this case three 1.6 gram bags of heroin, into the Los Alamos County Detention Facility at 2500 Trinity Drive. Montoya also is charged with possession of a controlled substance.

In the criminal complaint filed in First District Court, Det. Shari Mills stated that a detention officer observed a small black bag fall out of Montoya's pants during a search.

Three small bags containing powder weighing 1.6 grams each were found inside the black bag, according to the complaint. One bag appeared to be Mexican Brown heroin and the other two were a creamy color, Mills said.

All three bags tested positive for heroin. Another bag also was found, empty but containing a powdery residue, she said.

Montoya had been serving time on the weekends for a speeding violation he failed to pay, according to the complaint. Through a process of elimination, it was suspected that Montoya was smuggling heroin into the jail on the weekends inside his rectum.

"This last weekend he was placed in a cell by himself and the water was turned off to the toilet so he couldn't flush it," Mills said. "The detention officer went to his cell and Montoya stated he needed to flush the toilet and that he needed to be there when it flushed."

The officer took Montoya to the booking cell to search him, Mills said. While he was being searched, officers went back to his cell and discovered two needles. One needle was broken and the other was filled with a dark brown substance, according to the criminal complaint.

"The brown liquid inside the syringe tested positive for heroin using a Narcotics Identification System (NIC) kit for opiates," Mills said.

A plastic spoon also found in the cell had a brown substance on it that tested positive for heroin as well, she said.

Montoya remains in jail awaiting arraignment.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that the border area between New Mexico and Mexico is sparsely populated and has limited natural or man made barriers to illegal crossing.

This, coupled with an extensive road network that traverses the state in all directions, makes New Mexico a haven for the transshipment of illegal drugs from Mexico to destination points throughout the United States.