Pueblo inmate swallowed 14+ grams of heroin before entering jail, faces additional charges

Crime

PUEBLO, Colo. — Pueblo County Sheriff’s detention deputies recovered more than 14 grams of heroin that had been hidden in the body cavity of an inmate.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies learned through a tip that there were possibly drugs in one of the housing areas of the Pueblo County Jail. Deputies initial search of the housing area did not find anything.

K9s Mondy and Edo and their handlers responded to the jail and conducted another search where the K9s indicated drug possible detection in several locations within the housing unit. Detention deputies conducted further searches in those areas along with pat searches of several inmates tied to those areas.

Deputies said one of the inmates, identified as possibly having hid drugs in his body, was removed from the housing area and taken through the jail’s body scanner. The inmate, identified as Joe Vasquez, 47, was placed in a holding cell pending the review of the body scan. While waiting in the
holding cell, deputies noticed Vasquez was acting suspicious.

Deputies entered the cell and found a plastic bag in the toilet. Deputies also observed a black substance on Vasquez’s hands and his leg. Deputies had Vasquez remove his pants and while doing so, a black rock-like substance fell to the floor. The substance tested positive for heroin.

Vasquez admitted to deputies he had swallowed a baggy of heroin prior to being arrested on May 20. He said he finally passed the baggy while he was in the holding cell.

Vasquez, who was already in jail on a drug possession charge (methamphetamine), received
additional charges of first-degree introduction of contraband, possession of a controlled
substance, first-degree possession of contraband, and unlawful distribution, manufacturing,
dispensing, or sale. He remains in the Pueblo County Jail.

“I commend the deputies involved in this incident for their thorough investigative work,” said
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “Their persistent work kept a pretty substantial amount of
heroin out of the jail.”

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