A tip about drugs possibly being smuggled into the Barton County Jail began a series of events that lead to the seizure of a large amount of methamphetamine.
According to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, over the course of the last few days the agency became aware of allegations that controlled substances were being smuggled into the jail. The information came from two separate sources.
Sheriff’s Office detectives immediately launched an investigation and placed a civilian employee under surveillance.
It appears the inmates involved were inmate workers or “trustees”. Inmate workers have been allowed to assist with various functions around the jail and in the community, including picking up groceries at local businesses for the jail. An inmate worker was allowed to accompany the jail cook on these errands.
During the course of the investigation detectives learned that the employee and the inmate worker had stopped at a residence while going to get groceries. The inmate exited the vehicle and contacted a person at the residence.
The inmate worker was identified as 30-year-old Hernan Montez of Great Bend. Montez was being held on a contempt of court charge. At that point, detectives placed the residence under surveillance.
When the trustee and the employee returned to the jail the trustee was searched and suspected methamphetamine was discovered. Detectives immediately began the process of obtaining a search warrant for the residence.
While waiting for a search warrant, a vehicle left the residence, and a traffic stop was conducted. During the stop, the suspect became combative, striking two officers. He then fled on foot. The suspect, identified as 35-year-old Reynaldo Martinez of Great Bend, ran back into the house that was under surveillance.
Sheriff’s deputies pursued Martinez inside and after a short struggle he was taken into custody.
After the search warrant was obtained for drugs for the same residence, Sheriff’s deputies found more than a pound of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of approximately $30,000.
During the investigation, detectives obtained information that the civilian employee, 45-year-old Tammy Batt of Russell, had been involved in an intimate relationship with one of the prisoners.
In total three arrests were made and the following charges have been requested.
Tammy Batt; Traffic in contraband in a correctional institution and unlawful sexual relations. Batt was arrested and booked. She has since posted a $50,000 bond
Reynaldo Martinez; Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, No drug tax stamp, two counts Battery of a law enforcement officer, Resisting arrest and Trafficking contraband in a correctional institution. Bond is set at $300,000
Hernan Montez – possession of methamphetamine and trafficking in contraband in a correctional institution. Bond is set at $50,000
Two shifts of officers were called in to assist with the operations. This included a complete search of the jail. Based on the findings, it is believed none of the drugs reached general population. It appears the incident was confined to the inmate worker section of the jail.
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Barton County Sheriff’s Office photos