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2 Gunnison prison employees charged in separate criminal cases

By Pat Reavy, Deseret News | Posted - Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:19 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Criminal charges were filed Tuesday against two employees of the Central Utah Correctional Facility in Gunnison for separate incidents.

Joseph Conrad Cote, 45, of Salina, was charged with distribution of a controlled substance inside a correctional facility, a first-degree felony.

Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels said Cote was a corrections officer who "became compromised by a group of inmates." Cote, who was struggling financially, agreed to start smuggling Suboxone — an opioid — and at least one cellphone into the prison to give to inmates in exchange for money, Daniels said.

Cote would allegedly meet with a relative of the inmates outside the prison to receive the drugs and then bring them inside the correctional facility. The investigation began after other corrections officers discovered the cellphone, Daniels said.

Cote is believed to have been paid several thousand dollars, according to the county attorney.

Daniels said the county will continue to investigate these types of incidents and file charges if any others are involved in smuggling drugs into the prison.

Also Tuesday, Jolene Huseby, 38, of Blackfoot, Idaho, was charged with custodial sexual relations, a third-degree felony.

Huseby was an instructor at the prison in the Inmate Education Program and not a certified law officer, Daniels said. In March, she engaged in sexual relations with an inmate, according to court documents.

Pat Reavy

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