Corrections officer accused of smuggling drugs into prison

Judge sets bail set at $10,000

PORT ANGELES — A state prison corrections officer was jailed Wednesday on $10,000 bail for investigation of intent to bring methamphetamine and Suboxone into Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Clallam County Superior Court Judge Simon Barnhart determined there was probable cause to arrest Alfonso Estriba Cofone, 37, of Port Angeles for investigation of four charges: possession of methamphetamine and Suboxone with intent to deliver, possession of a firearm while intending to deliver, and possession with intent to deliver within 1,000 feet of a school.

Cofone was initially apprehended Tuesday afternoon after he arrived at the maximum-security prison where, in an interview with investigators, he admitted he was planning to smuggle drugs into the facility, according to the probable cause statement on which Barnhart set bail.

“After a few hours of interview, Cofone admitted he had obtained drugs and $3,000 after meeting with a female in Tacoma over the weekend,” according to the statement. “He admitted the intent was to smuggle drugs into the prison.”

Parked in the prison parking lot was Cofone’s car, which contained a letter from a suspected inmate.

It mentioned the exchange of drugs and money in Tacoma and said Cofone would receive $3,000 up front and $2,000 when the exchange was complete — information that aligned with recorded prison phone conversations, according to the statement.

“The letter also referenced a possibility that other staff members may be involved in this smuggling operation,” according to the statement.

Investigators later found guns at his residence and drugs in a duffel bag in his vehicle at the residence, they said.

In the duffel bag were two plastic baggies containing 61 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 215 Suboxone strips, an eye dropper filled with suspected marijuana oil and $2,300 in cash in $100 and $20 bills.

In the residence was a 9 mm pistol and a weapon alternately described as an AR-15-style rifle and an AR-15 rifle and a 9 mm handgun.

“We had intelligence to suggest this was not the first time he delivered,” King said Wednesday.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jesse Espinoza, who is scheduled to file potential charges against Cofone at a 1 p.m. hearing Friday, sought $30,000 bail Wednesday at Cofone’s first appearance in court.

The 61 grams of methamphetamine found at Cofone’s residence alone would be commonly divided for sale into 0.1-gram amounts, Espinoza said.

“That’s a pretty large quantity of methamphetamine,” he said.

“In addition to that, not only did Mr. Cofone admit that he has been moving these drugs while employed as a corrections officer, it indicates, as far as motivation, a lot planning and a lot of discussion, and introducing those substances into the prison is a very toxic situation, very dangerous.”

The DOC and multi-agency Olympic Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement team conducted the investigation.

Cofone, who has 3- and 10-year-old children and is married, said he and his family recently moved to Port Angeles for his job at the prison, where he said he is still employed.

Cofone’s residence is across the street from a preschool, “well within 1,000 feet” of the building, according to the probable cause statement.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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