Inmate and Costa Mesa man accused of using drone to smuggle drugs into OC jail – Orange County Register

A Costa Mesa man is accused of flying a drone to smuggle illegal drugs into the Theo Lacy Jail complex, with some help from a female inmate.

Chey Cody Smart, 43, operated the drone, which was carrying two grams of heroin, four grams of methamphetamine, about 15 Xanax pills and 15 muscle relaxers, Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Anderson said.

Megan Elizabeth Donovan, 30, of Fountain Valley, who was convicted in 2018 for bringing drugs into a correctional facility, used a jailhouse phone to help direct Smart on where to land the drone at the jail, prosecutors said.

The drone was found by an inmate worker in a grassy area inside the jail in Orange two days after it crashed, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office. The inmate alerted Sheriff’s deputies.

Anderson could not recall another time a drone was used to smuggle drugs into an Orange County lockup.

“This is a fairly sophisticated method of delivery into a jail,” he said.

Smart and Donovan both were charged Thursday with one felony count of smuggling controlled substances into a correctional facility and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Smart, who was arrested Tuesday, also was charged with several other felonies, including possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, identity theft, grand theft auto and receiving stolen property, along with some misdemeanors.

He and Donovan had a relationship before the drone incident, said Kimberly Edds, spokeswoman for the DA’s office. Authorities declined to elaborate on it.

They also didn’t detail how they connected the drone to Smart and Donovan. But investigators obtained a search warrant for Smart’s Costa Mesa home and seized multiple firearms, fentanyl and the controller that paired with the drone, Anderson said.

Smart had used a stolen identity to rent his apartment and buy a 2018 BMW, prosecutors said in a news release.

Authorities later discovered he had a weapons-related arrest warrant issued out of Mendocino County in Northern California.

“Orange County has seen a resurgence in drug traffic and the jails are no exception as criminals are becoming increasingly creative in their attempts to smuggle drugs into correctional facilities,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement Thursday.

If convicted on all charges, Smart faces a maximum 12-year sentence, plus 360 days in the Orange County Jail, and Donovan faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

In 2019, Orange County sheriff’s officials banned letters to inmates containing cardstock paper, greeting cards and colored paper after 147 greeting cards containing drugs were sniffed out by drug-sniffing dogs over a six-month period.

Most of those cards were soaked in methamphetamine, authorities said at the time.

From January to March 2019, nearly three dozen inmates were caught attempting to smuggle drugs, officials said.

This is a breaking story, please check back for updates.

Inmate and Costa Mesa man accused of using drone to smuggle drugs into OC jail

Christin Hakim

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