Law enforcement discover 'contraband' during shakedown at county jail

Unspecified number of jail employees placed on paid leave


An unspecified number of Taos County Adult Detention Center employees have been placed on paid administrative leave after law enforcement discovered "contraband" during a shakedown at the jail July 10, county officials said Wednesday (July 18).

In response to an inquiry by The Taos News after a related dispatch report was discovered earlier this week, County Manager Leandro Cordova said in a prepared statement the Taos County Sheriff's Office conducted the search of the jail with support from Taos Police Officers and four jail officers.

Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said earlier this week that his agency had obtained two search warrants related to the search at the jail.  The shakedown was prompted,  "based on information and subsequent allegations regarding a detainee transported from Río Arriba County Detention Center," Cordova said in the statement.

On advice from the county's attorney and based on "[jail] policy," Cordova would not name the employees who were placed on leave, nor would he say what "contraband," specifically, was discovered during the search.

Cordova did, however, note that the decision to place the employees on leave "in no way implies suspicion" and that the operation is part of an ongoing "internal administrative investigation."

Two weeks prior to the search, the Taos County Sheriff's Office arrested two jail officers, Dominic Torrez and Phillip Ortiz, charging them with trafficking a controlled substance, bringing contraband into the jail and conspiracy.

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