A 43-year-old man from Costa Mesa was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of using a drone to drop illegal drugs in the outdoor recreation area of ââa local prison in the city of Orange, along with numerous others crimes, officials reported.
Sheriff’s Department Custody Intelligence Unit investigators were informed of the discovery of a drone carrying narcotics in an open space within the Theo Lacy facility on Sunday. The drone was found carrying heroin, methamphetamine, Xanax pills and muscle relaxants, according to a statement released Thursday.
A search for suspects led investigators to Chey Cody Smart’s Costa Mesa residence, where an executed search warrant located several illegal firearms, an undisclosed amount of fentanyl and a remote control later determined to partner with the drone. found in the prison, the statement said. .
Smart was found in possession of a vehicle that had been reported stolen. Investigators learned that he also rented out his residence using fraudulent identification, and materials recovered from the house were determined to be associated with identity theft and fraudulent criminal activity.
He was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of multiple drug and firearms charges, as well as robbery, identity theft and fraud, and was held in the County Jail of Orange. Investigators later learned that a warrant for Smart’s arrest had already been issued in Mendocino County on weapons felony charges, the statement said.
An online detainee locator maintained by the sheriff’s department said Smart, whose trade is listed as a carpenter, was being held on $ 227,500 bond.
In a Santa Ana courtroom on Thursday, Smart pleaded not guilty to a long list of felony charges, ranging from bringing or sending a controlled substance to a prison and possessing a assault weapon for grand theft and conspiracy to commit a crime.
He also responded to seven counts of misdemeanor relating to stolen property, drug possession and misrepresenting himself to an officer, court records show.
Megan Elizabeth Donovan, 30, of Fountain Valley is listed in court records as a co-accused in the case on two counts of bringing or sending drugs to prison and conspiracy to commit a crime. Donovan was in custody Thursday and was due in court on Friday.
Sheriff Don Barnes, in a statement Thursday, praised the Custody Intelligence Unit for using an investigative strategy that identified outside actors and intercepted the transit of illegal drugs through a prison.
“We will continue to be diligent in ensuring the safety of those entrusted to us and we will take into account those who attempt to threaten that safety,” he said.