KINGMAN — A Parker man who caused an inmate health and contamination scare at the Mohave County Adult Detention Center last year is being sent to prison.
Judge Doug Camacho ordered a 13 1/2-year prison term during a Tuesday hearing for Jonathan Hutchinson, 24.
Authorities said Hutchinson used his body cavity to smuggle illegal drugs into the jail facility in downtown Kingman last spring.
“Investigation revealed that Hutchinson had smuggled into the detention facility approximately 30 counterfeit Hydrocodone 30 mg pills and an unknown amount of methamphetamine,” a news release said.
Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said crime lab analysis confirmed that the hydrocodone pills were created with use of the synthetic opioid known as fentanyl. Five inmates who became sick from the pills were rushed to Kingman Regional Medical Center on April 16.
One of Hutchinson’s defense attorneys, Scott Ruffner, told the court that Hutchinson was unaware that the pills would cause illness.
“There was no intent to harm anyone,” Ruffner said.
About 50 inmates were transferred to facilities in La Paz and Coconino counties while authorities conducted their drug distribution investigation and worked to cleanse, sanitize and re-supply the J-Pod at the local jail.
“They had to take a whole pod and just about burn it down because of the hazmat situation there,” prosecutor Bob Moon said at the sentencing hearing.
The inmates were returned and normal jail operations resumed by April 29.
Jail Commander Don Bischoff said the incident prompted a review and some improvements in operations to shore up security.
“Inmates are inmates and that’s what they do. They look for weaknesses to exploit constantly,” Bischoff said. He said staff handled the situation as well as might be expected under difficult circumstances.
Mohave County Courthouse hearing calendars were disrupted for several days given inmate transfers.
Hutchinson was given seven years in prison for his guilty plea to a jail contraband promotion offense. In four other cases, he pleaded guilty to possession of dangerous drugs, taking the identification of another, theft of means of transportation and shoplifting.
“What we’re talking about here is someone who was a one-man crime wave,” Moon said.
Camacho also ordered Hutchinson to make almost $35,000 restitution for costs associated with transport and treatment of the sickened inmates and the decontamination of the jail pod.