Jail custodian accused of smuggling drugs to inmates takes lesser plea

REDWOOD CITY (KRON) — A custodian at a San Mateo County jail accused of smuggling drugs in to inmates last year pleaded to a lesser charge in court Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, a key witness refused to testify in the case.

Michael De Cartagena, 46, had been charged last September with two counts of smuggling drugs into jail between May and June 2014. On Tuesday, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor possession of drugs and was sentenced to two years’ probation, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors alleged that De Cartagena allowed inmates to use his cell phone and would deliver packages to them which contained drugs.

Prosecutors lost their case against De Cartagena when two inmates who used him as a courier withdrew cooperation.

With only one witness, and no one to corroborate his testimony, police deemed it too difficult to prove the accusation, since it would be an inmate word against a county employee with no criminal record.

 

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