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Utah corrections officer charged with smuggling drugs into prison

A Utah Department of Corrections officer has been charged with helping to facilitate the smuggling of drugs into the Utah State Prison.

A Utah Department of Corrections officer has been charged with helping to facilitate the smuggling of drugs into the Utah State Prison. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)



POINT OF THE MOUNTAIN — Three people, including a Utah Department of Corrections officer, have been charged with distributing drugs to inmates at the Utah State Prison.

Bryon Curt Stoddard, 45, of Orem, who was working for the Utah Department of Corrections at the time of his alleged crimes, has been charged with drug distribution or arranging to distribute drugs, a second-degree felony; and drug possession with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony.

Cella Cherrie Pasillas, 24, of Orem, and Paul William Munster, 46, were also each charged in 3rd District Court on Aug. 27 with drug distribution, a second-degree felony.

Investigators with the department learned in August that Stoddard provided three inmates, including Munster, with methamphetamine, Suboxone and fentanyl and that "future 'drops' were planned each week," according to charging documents.

Munster would call Pasillas who would arrange a meeting with Stoddard for the transfer of drugs and money, the charges state. Investigators also learned that "Stoddard received $1,000 per drop and that Stoddard also used methamphetamine," the charges state.

An investigator listened to one of Munster's recorded phone calls from prison with Pasillas and he gave her "specific instruction to make a golf ball-sized package out of Suboxone," according to the charges.

Investigators said they also learned that several inmates, who are all part of a white supremacy group, were making payments for the drugs by sending money to Pasillas' Venmo account.

"Stoddard was working for the highest-ranking (Soldiers of Aryan Culture) gang members in the prison," the charging documents allege.

On Aug. 24, investigators learned that Stoddard was going to pick up more drugs. Officers followed him as he went to a house in Salt Lake County and exited carrying a bag, the charges state. Officers then pulled Stoddard over near 150 E. 800 North, and, using a drug sniffing police K-9, reported finding meth, Suboxone and drug paraphernalia.

"I'm going to get fired," Stoddard allegedly said as the officers began their search.

While being transported to a place for a formal interview to be conducted, Stoddard further stated that he had been using meth for about 12 years and admitted to making a "drop" for Munster, according to the charges.

The charging documents say at least one inmate is believed to have overdosed on fentanyl smuggled into the prison by Stoddard.

Stoddard, who made his initial court appearance on Thursday, has another hearing scheduled for Sept. 13.

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