A woman who works in the cafeteria of the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility in Las Cruces was formally charged after officials say she tried to smuggle cocaine and heroin into the prison for an inmate with whom she was romantically involved.
Prison officials say 20-year-old Candace Holmes, who works for Aramark, a food services company, voluntarily surrendered a six-inch balloon with 26 grams of cocaine and 46 grams of heroin worth $12,000 and $15,000 that she allegedly had hidden in a body cavity.
Holmes was charged with trafficking cocaine by possessing it with the intent to distribute; trafficking heroin by possessing it with the intent to distribute; conspiracy to traffic cocaine; conspiracy to traffic heroin; and two counts of bringing contraband into a prison facility. She is being held at the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
The drug seizure was the biggest in the prison's history, officials say.
Officers said Holmes told them 31-year-old inmate Frank Morales, Jr. was her fiance, and they began watching her after they were tipped off that she was having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. Morales is incarcerated on charges of drug trafficking.
Authorities began monitoring their phone calls and heard several conversations in which they referenced to her getting drugs for him. In one of the calls, investigators say, Holmes refers to the drugs as jewelry, saying she "walked around the mall, but I couldn't find you any specific jewelry that were under a certain amount."
In another call, Morales tells Holmes, "I love you. Make sure you keep all my jewelry in the jewelry box, you know what I mean?"