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Former North Dakota prison officer charged with delivering phone, drugs to inmate
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Former North Dakota prison officer charged with delivering phone, drugs to inmate

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A former employee of the North Dakota State Penitentiary has been charged with two felonies for allegedly sneaking electronics and drugs to an inmate in exchange for payment from a North Dakota woman.

Court documents show Matthew Taylor, who is in his late 30s, has been ordered to appear in court to face accusations that he delivered a cellphone and methamphetamine to Joshua Gomez in late 2020.

The charges stem from a North Dakota Highway Patrol investigation that started in November 2020. Taylor worked as a correctional officer from March to November of that year, according to the patrol’s affidavit.

Investigators say Taylor received payments from the woman to deliver a cellphone, two SIM cards and a cigarette package to Gomez. Taylor allegedly told investigators he assumed the cigarette package contained an illegal substance but never looked into it. Gomez tested positive for meth after the package was delivered, the patrol said.

The woman provided the patrol with text message conversations between her and Gomez that outlined the payment process for the meth. MoneyGram records obtained by the patrol showed Taylor received payments of $240 and $660, according to the affidavit.

Court records do not list an attorney for Taylor or any charges against the woman. Gomez is charged with possession of a controlled substance by an inmate and possession of an electronic device by an inmate. He is currently incarcerated at the James River Corrections Center, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website. He pleaded guilty to a felony sex offense in 2006, spent nine years in prison, and was sent back to prison in 2018 because of a probation violation, court records show.

The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted a thorough investigation of the matter, said spokeswoman Kayli Richards.

"The team member was placed on immediate administrative leave and released from employment after completion of the investigation,” Richards said.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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