Nurse accused of smuggling drugs into Fresno County jail

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A nurse at the Fresno County jail is accused of smuggling drugs to inmates for a price.

The concrete walls and metal bars of the Fresno County jail have never quite stopped contraband - like drugs and phones - from getting inside.

"There's no question there's a problem with drugs in the jail," says legal analyst Tony Capozzi. "It's there. Many of the inmates I've spoken to in the past say 'Yes, drugs are there.' I mean how do you stop it?"

Action News dug up a search warrant revealing investigators watching drugs flow into jail through David Sahai.

The 37-year-old licensed vocational nurse worked for the contractor providing medical care to inmates and, according to a jail informant, he charged $2,000 to smuggle drugs inside and pass them to an inmate during regular medical checks.

Prosecutors charged Sahai and his alleged go-between with conspiracy to deliver drugs to an inmate and possession of meth with intent to sell.

The warrant seems to indicate sheriff's detectives stopped the transaction, but Capozzi says that won't matter much.

"The conspiracy is just as serious as committing the crime itself," he says. "The conspiracy is just having the agreement and doing something toward that agreement to commit the crime."

Capozzi says Sahai might claim he never intended to actually deliver the drugs even though he accepted the meth and the money, but with the informant outlining the scheme the defense falls apart.

Sahai's attorney did not respond to our request for comment.

We asked a sheriff's office spokesperson about jail security against contraband.

He says visitors don't have physical access to inmates.

Attorneys do, but correctional officers check the inmates before they go back to their jail pods.

"I've seen it after jail visits," Capozzi said. "What they do is they hands up against the wall. They pat them down. And now they even check their socks because many times it's stuck in the bottom of their socks."

But current and former jailers tell us they only check medical staff for IDs before letting them in.

And correctional officers don't get checked at all.

"Maybe there should be a process where each person who comes in," Capozzi says before catching himself mid-sentence. "Boy that's going to be tough. They're correctional officers. They're sworn to uphold the law and here you are searching them."

The sheriff's spokesman said the sheriff doesn't intend to change any security procedures right now because the smuggling pops up so rarely.

Sahai pleaded not guilty and he's due back in court in early February.
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