Maricopa County detention officer accused of smuggling drugs

January 12, 2023 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — A Maricopa County detention officer has been arrested for attempting to smuggle drugs into the jail system.

Sheriff Paul Penzone announced the arrest of officer Andres Salazar at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Penzone says Salazar, who works out of Lower Buckeye Jail, was found with close to 100 pills that tested positive for methamphetamine and fentanyl.

Salazar has been booked on one count each of count each of possession or use of a narcotic drug, promoting prison contraband and transport for sale.

Penzone says theft charges will be added since the officer allegedly forged overtime slips.

Salazar has been with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office since October 2019. He has been under investigation for over a month, Penzone said. It was not immediately known if he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Penzone said the officer’s actions were especially “egregious” because of the risk of fellow officers or inmates coming into contact with fentanyl.


The sheriff also announced his office is looking at using body scanners to keep drugs from getting into the jail.

The scanners would look for foreign objects on anyone entering—detention officers, other staff and inmates. They would be paid for through savings coming out of the current budget.