KINGMAN — The last of three defendants convicted of smuggling illegal drugs into the Mohave County Adult Detention Center in Kingman was given more prison time Wednesday.

Ryan Acosta, 29, of Bullhead City, was ordered to spend 10 more years behind bars, once his current prison term for unrelated convictions expires in 2027.

Punishment imposed by Judge Billy Sipe was the maximum possible under terms of a plea agreement convicting Acosta of conspiracy of promoting prison contraband. Sipe noted Acosta’s extensive criminal history involving more than a half-dozen felony convictions in California and Mohave County.

Sipe said corrections officers have difficult jobs as it is and they don’t need additional challenges and dangers associated with use and trafficking of drugs within what is supposed to be a secured facility.

Acosta is serving nine years in the Arizona Department of Corrections after resolving five felony Mohave County cases in a plea agreement convicting him of possession of narcotic drugs, possession of dangerous drugs, attempted possession of dangerous drugs for sale, trafficking in stolen property, theft and criminal impersonation. Acosta was awaiting trial on those matters when he allegedly conspired with two co-defendants to smuggle drugs into the jail.

In previous legal proceedings, prosecutors alleged that Acosta abused his romance with former corrections officer Ashley Aquino, convincing the former Bullhead City resident to bring contraband into the jail for Acosta and his inmate associate, Matthew Solari, 31, of Needles. 

Sipe noted that Aquino claimed she was not in a relationship with Acosta, but that they were acquainted and that she thought only tobacco was in the tin receptacles she introduced into the jail.

Sipe noted that Aquino actually brought heroin laced with the dangerous drug fentanyl in at least one of the tins smuggled into the facility. The pregnant Aquino was given a two-year prison term by Sipe a month ago.

Solari is serving a 20-year prison sentence after entering plea agreements resolving the contraband matter and other unrelated criminal cases.

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