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Former guard pleads not guilty to smuggling contraband

November 16, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A former guard at the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck will go to trial in March after he accused of sneaking drugs and electronics to an inmate in the prison in exchange for money.

Matthew Taylor, of Mandan, on Monday waived his preliminary hearing and pleaded not guilty to two felonies. The more serious charge carries a possible 20-year prison sentence, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Taylor was working as a correctional officer at the penitentiary in November of last year when the North Dakota Highway Patrol began an investigation.

He was fired after the investigation, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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Investigators say Taylor received $900 from a woman to deliver a cellphone, two computer memory cards and a cigarette package to an inmate, according to prosecutors.

Taylor allegedly told investigators he assumed the cigarette package contained an illegal substance but never looked into it. The inmate tested positive for methamphetamine after the package was delivered, the patrol said.

South Central District Judge Douglas Bahr scheduled a March 8 trial.