Ex-New Mexico corrections officer pleads guilty in drug case

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LAS CRUCES (AP) – A Texas man has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine when he worked as a corrections officer at a New Mexico jail.

Federal prosecutors say 27-year-old Francisco Balderrama, of El Paso, entered his plea Tuesday in a Las Cruces court.

Balderrama was arrested Oct. 6 on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and providing contraband in a jail facility.

He was accused of conspiring with three co-defendants to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Dona Ana County Detention Center in June 2013 at the behest of two federal inmates in exchange for $300.

Prosecutors say Balderrama is facing up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced followed by at least three years of supervised release. His sentencing hearing is pending.

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