Catching up on a story from earlier this year: Former Boulder County Sheriff's Office Deputy Tyler Mason is currently on probation after reportedly taking a plea deal following accusations that he'd attempted to smuggle marijuana edibles into Boulder County Jail.
On September 23 of last year, according to a Boulder County Sheriff's Office release, an inmate at the facility revealed to another staffer that a fellow jailee had arranged with a deputy to obtain edibles and chewing tobacco.
Why? The BCSO maintained that Mason and the inmate were childhood friends — plus there was money involved, and Mason is said to have been "experiencing financial hardship."
Shortly thereafter, an internal investigation with a sting component was launched, and arrangements were made with a woman in Longmont to cooperate. Five days later, on September 28, the sheriff's office said the woman gave Mason $160 with which to purchase the various items — an exchange witnessed by undercover investigators.
Afterward, Mason, who was hired as a deputy in December 2014, was placed on administrative leave before he could make any purchases; the cash was retrieved from his vehicle the next day. He was fired shortly thereafter.
His situation got even worse this morning, when he was booked and released on charges that included felony counts of conspiracy to introduce contraband in the first and second degree, plus a misdemeanor official-misconduct beef.
In an interview last year, Commander Ron Kaundart, the administrative commander for the jail division, told us that to his knowledge, Mason was the first deputy accused of trying to bring contraband into the Boulder facility — and his case was also the first involving marijuana edibles. But tobacco is another matter.
"Tobacco is legal, of course, but it's still contraband in the jail," Kaundart said. "A lot of times, it's used to barter for other stuff. And people try to smuggle in drugs, too. We've found meth, coke and regular marijuana. People will smuggle it in small amounts, and when we hear about it, we have our drug dog. And people also hoard medication that's prescribed to them by cheeking it. Once we find out someone's doing it, the doctor will generally stop prescribing it, because if they're selling it instead of taking it, they obviously don't need it."
Most smuggling conspiracies involve other inmates, Kaundart noted — "especially if someone's getting a furlough. Maybe they'll have a medical treatment, and a lot of times they'll get hit up by other inmates who'll say, 'While you're out, can you pick up something for me?' They're kind of used as a mule to get stuff in and out."
The jail's security process, which involves, among other things, pat-downs for people being booked and inmates coming back from furloughs, isn't designed to nab a deputy involved in mulish behavior. Still, the BCSO stressed that there was no evidence that Mason had previously smuggled anything into the facility. When asked if the deputy's arrest should serve as a warning to other employees not to assume they can get away with doing so, Kaundart replied, "Absolutely."
Mason's plea deal was made public this past March. At the time, two counts of conspiracy to introduce contraband, a felony, were dropped in exchange for him admitting his guilt in regard to an accusation of official misconduct, a misdemeanor. The probationary sentence was set for eighteen months.