Man released from Massachusetts jail for coronavirus accused of trying to smuggle drugs back in

A man released from jail after testing positive for coronavirus has been indicted for allegedly trying to smuggle drugs back into the jail, the Essex District Attorney’s Office announced on Thursday.

Eric Jalbert, 31, was indicted by an Essex County grand jury for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband into the Essex House of Corrections.

Jalbert was in pre-trial custody at the Middleton jail on fentanyl trafficking charges when he tested positive for COVID-19 in April. As a result, his attorney filed a motion for his release, which a judge allowed on April 14. He was ordered to remain in home confinement at his mother’s house in Beverly with a GPS monitor.

But then, the Essex DA’s Office filed a motion to reconsider because his mother lived in an apartment complex for elderly and disabled persons, and Jalbert had failed to comply with the conditions of his release, according to the DA’s Office.

The judge allowed the DA’s motion, and ordered Jalbert back to jail on April 21.

When Jalbert reported to the Middleton jail, officers found 15 Suboxone strips, marijuana and tobacco hidden in a body cavity, according to the Essex DA.

On Wednesday, the Essex Grand Jury indicted him for two counts of introduction of contraband into a jail with intent to distribute, and one count of possession of Class B drugs with intent to distribute.

“Mr. Jalbert risked the safety of others when he was released while testing positive for COVID and sent to live with a vulnerable population,” Essex Sheriff Kevin Coppinger said in a statement. “His flagrant disregard for the safety of others continued during his short stay on the outside, and again when he tried to smuggle in contraband to our facilities.

“I want to thank my staff and the District Attorney’s office for their work to ensure Mr. Jalbert would face serious charges for his utter indifference of the law,” he added.

On July 13, Jalbert pleaded guilty to possession of Class A drugs with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to 2 to 3 years in state prison.

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