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2 charged in contraband scheme for drug-soaked mail sent to Colo. jail

A Weld County Jail official said inmates in state jails consume paper to get high, often found laced with synthetic cannabinoids or fentanyl

Weld County Jail

Weld County Sheriff’s Office

By Morgan McKenzie
Greeley Tribune, Colo.

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — Weld County Jail staff work to prevent drugs from entering the jail every day, including through a recent trend seen across the state: drug-soaked mail.

In April, 31-year-old Danny Marceleno received mail that was soaked in drugs while he was an inmate at the jail awaiting transfer to the Colorado Department of Corrections, according to the sheriff’s office. He planned to sell the drug-soaked papers once he was transferred, a news release from the sheriff’s office states.

Online court records indicate a warrant was issued in the contraband case against Marceleno on Nov. 22 . Department of Corrections records show Marceleno had been assigned to the Bent County Correctional Facility, with four convictions on his record: attempted identity theft in 2013, escape from felony conviction in 2017 and two charges of aggravated motor vehicle theft in August 2022.

Marceleno faces a second-degree possession of contraband charge, a Class 6 felony, as well as a charge for unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing or sale of less than 4 grams of a Schedule 4 controlled substance, a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Weld deputies on Thursday arrested Monica Moreno, 27, on suspicion of introducing contraband and a Class 4 drug felony for her suspected role in the scheme. Deputies took Moreno into custody as she visited Marceleno at the jail, according to the sheriff’s office.

Captain Matt Turner, who oversees the jail, reported staff at jails across the state have reported seeing a trend where inmates eat or suck on paper to get high. In similar cases, law enforcement found such papers to be saturated with synthetic cannabinoids or fentanyl.

Melissa Chesmore, public relations officer for the sheriff’s office, declined to get into the specifics of how staff work to prevent contraband from entering the jail to avoid revealing their tactics for detecting contraband. Chesmore said staff take multiple steps to find any drugs in the facility and prevent their use, including ensuring that inmates do not receive the original copy of mail delivered to the jail.

Moreno has a court appearance scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Weld District Court. Marceleno has a disposition hearing for the contraband case at 4 p.m. Dec. 19 .


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