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Home / Neighborhood / Orange County / Costa Mesa man, inmate charged in drug smuggling scheme with drone

Costa Mesa man, inmate charged in drug smuggling scheme with drone

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A 43-year-old Costa Mesa man pleaded not guilty Thursday to conspiring with a woman in an Orange County jail to smuggle in drugs with a drone.

Chey Cody Smart was arrested Tuesday and charged Thursday with nine felonies and seven misdemeanors regarding the use of a drone to smuggle various narcotics into the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange Sunday evening, according to court records. Co-defendant Megan Elizabeth Donovan, 30, was charged with bringing a controlled substance into the jail and conspiracy to commit a crime, both felonies.

The drone landed in the recreation area of the jail, according to Sgt. Ryan Anderson of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who said it was carrying two grams of heroin, four grams of methamphetamine, about 15 Xanax pills and about 15 muscle relaxant pills.

When investigators executed a search warrant in Costa Mesa, they found a controller paired with the drone that landed at Theo Lacy, Anderson said.

Smart was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and an assault weapon and armed with a handgun, according to the criminal complaint, which claims that he is not allowed to own weapons or possess ammunition because he is a felon, with a 2004 drug conviction in Hawaii.

He was also charged with identity theft, grand theft auto, receiving stolen property as well as possessing fentanyl, cocaine, alprazolam, heroin and drug paraphernalia, Anderson said. Smart also had a stolen car and identity theft tools, and was renting his residence through someone else’s name.

In addition, he was wanted on a warrant out of Medocino County on weapons charges.

Smart was next due in court Sept. 30 for a pretrial hearing in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Donovan has been previously convicted of smuggling drugs into a jail.

Jail records indicate she has been in custody since Aug. 17.

According to the criminal complaint, she allegedly used a phone in the jail to help Smart pilot the drone and is accused of providing “information concerning the locations and activities of jail personnel.”

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said his deputies were being “extremely proactive in intercepting narcotics” being smuggled into jails and that the arrests in this case were a “great example of that work.”

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