Doña Ana County



            Doña Ana County Detention Center officers intercepted an attempt to smuggle heroin and other contraband into the facility on Thursday, March 20.

            Inmate Anthony Ghalayni, 33, returned to the jail Thursday after work, as prescribed by the work-release sentence imposed for an aggravated DWI conviction.

            Based on suspicions that Ghalayni might attempt to smuggle contraband into the facility, jail personnel observed him without his knowledge as he entered his assigned cell. Once inside the cell, Ghalayni allegedly removed a pliable, long, black casing from his rectum, which he then cleaned and placed in a plastic box commonly used to keep soap dry. He then hid the soap box under his mattress.

            The officer who observed Ghalayni alerted his colleagues, who entered the cell block and searched Ghalayni’s cell.

            During subsequent questioning, Ghalayni initially denied knowing anything about the soap box or its contents, but confessed when the officer who observed him described in detail everything he had witnessed.

            The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office was notified, as was the Doña Ana County/City of Las Cruces Metro-Narcotics Division, whose officers conducted a follow-up investigation.

            Khalayni now faces criminal charges of possession of a narcotic. He also faces disciplinary action for possession of tobacco and possession of a lighter inside the detention facility, making a false statement to officers, violating detention-center rules and violating his work-release conditions.

            Doña Ana County Detention Center Director Chris Barela said he was proud of his staff for the way the operation was handled.

            “We have developed a series of policies and procedures designed to intercept contraband coming into this facility, and the Khalayni case demonstrates that our staff is fully capable of executing those procedures in a way that is both nonconfrontational and effective,” Barela said. “Mr. Khalayni’s experience should be a warning call to others who think smuggling contraband into our facility is either easy or undetectable.”

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.