Merced County jail cook accused of smuggling pot and phones to inmates

FRESNO, Calif.

Investigators say 57-year-old David Mace of Chowchilla worked as a correctional cook at the John Latarroca Correctional Facility. He's accused of smuggling marijuana, tobacco and cell phones into the jail.

"Even though he doesn't serve at the sheriff's office in an officer capacity, he is still an employee and the expectation and the bar is still very high whether you are a clerical staff member whether you're a sworn officer or whether you are a correctional cook," said deputy Delray Shelton.

Deputies began investigating Mace two months ago after getting a tip which they say led to the finding of about a half a pound of marijuana and tobacco inside the kitchen where he worked. Mace is now accused of smuggling the controlled substances into the jail and for allowing inmates to use them. "Mr. Mace is on administrative leave with pay which is a very common practice when employees are involved in crimes like this," added Shelton.

Deputies say Mace was smuggling other items into the jail. Mace who is from Chowchilla is being held on a $100,000 bail.


The Merced County Sheriff's Office released the following statement to Action News:

Merced County Correctional Cook Arrested

The Merced County Sheriff's Office arrested David Louis Mace 57 of Chowchila. Mace currently is employed as a Correctional Cook at the John Latarroca Correctional Center and has been employed with the County of Merced since 2002.

The arrest is a result of a two month investigation by the Merced County Sheriff Supervised Release Team (SRT). The investigation revealed that Mace has been bringing contraband into John Latarroca Correctional Facility for several months. The contraband consisted of Marijuana, Tobacco and Cellular Phones. A search of the Kitchen at the John Latarroca Correctional Center yielded approximately half pound of Marijuana and Tobacco.

Mace was arrested at his residence in Chowchilla today at about 3:00 pm. He was booked into the Merced County Jail for brining controlled substances in a correctional facility and allowing Inmates to use controlled substances. He is being held on a $100,000 bail.

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