Jail guard suspected of smuggling heroin makes bond
A Mohave County Jail corrections officer was arraigned Tuesday on charges of promoting contraband, and has since made bond, according to the Arizona Supreme Court website.
Ashley D. Aquino, 24, was arrested Monday after an investigation by the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team allegedly revealed her to have smuggled heroin to inmates at Mohave County Jail. When confronted with the accusation this week, Aquino allegedly admitted to the crime. Other jail staff conducted searches at the facility, but found the alleged heroin had been disposed of before such searches began.
According to Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Specialist Anita Mortensen, Aquino’s alleged actions bear no reflection toward the Sheriff’s Office’s screening and vetting processes when hiring qualified corrections staff.
“Our background check process for detention officers is conducted by our employees before the job is offered to the individual,” Mortensen said. “We check personal, professional and work references. We also conduct a criminal history check through state and federal systems, and we reach out to local law enforcement agencies in the community the applicant resides in.”
Aquino has never been convicted of a felony in Arizona, according to court records. Her one recorded appearance in Mohave County Superior Court is in reference to a 2017 divorce.
“We want to make it clear that she didn’t ‘slip through the cracks’,” Mortensen said. “Aquino’s background check was conducted the same as every other employee. Nothing in our background check would have alerted us or indicated to this behavior. The choice made by Aquino was solely her own and no background check could have predicted she would make that choice … We can, however, hold her accountable for her choices and we will be doing that to the best of our ability.