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Corrections cadet fired, accused of attempting to smuggle contraband into Elayn Hunt

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ST. GABRIEL- A former corrections cadet at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center is out of a job and facing charges. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DOC) says she tried to smuggle thousands of dollars worth of drugs and other contraband into a state prison.

Authorities say 21-year-old Cadet Destanie Ruiz was seen on surveillance video dropping off a bag containing contraband into a trash can at Elayn Hunt.

Inside the bag, investigators found six cellphones, 45 pages of loose-leaf paper sprayed with a substance suspected to be synthetic cannabinoid enclosed in clear bags, a four-ounce bottle of a liquid substance suspected of being cough syrup with codeine, 250 pills suspected to be MDMA (ecstasy), three packs of tobacco, 42 Nugenix Total-T testosterone pills, five taped bundles of suspected illicit substances containing 200 grams, and 26 cell phone manuals with activation packages. Ruiz also had two cigars in her pants pocket, authorities report.

Investigators also discovered additional contraband in Ruiz's car, including a loaded 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol, several containers of alcohol, and one glass bottle of hand sanitizer.

St. Gabriel police officer, Jasmione Clark, says inmates were to pay Ruiz $1000 for the delivery.

"She told me that she met somebody out here on the streets. She couldn't identify the person. They had already given her the contraband wrapped and sealed to be delivered into the jail," Officer Clark said.

The first drop-off she made on July 5 went undetected. Ruiz walked right through the doors of the state prison with the loot in hand, officers say.

Clark says employee security measures have toned down throughout the widespread of COVID-19, making it easier for crooks to cash in.

"Due to COVID-19, they're not doing the past searches they usually do on correctional officers. So, she took full advantage of that because she was able to walk right in with the contraband in a brown paper bag," Clark said.

But according to Clark, Monday's arrest highlights a growing problem.
Where people are paid big bucks to make drops at state prisons.

"It happens more often than we like to see, but they try their best to keep that stuff away from the cell blocks and the inmates," Clark said.

Corrections investigators notified St. Gabriel Police who booked Ruiz into the Iberville Parish Prison on 13 felony counts. She is being held on a $140,000 bond.

Ruiz was a probational employee at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center as a corrections cadet since May 11, 2020, but is no longer employed at the facility.

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