EVERETT — A former Snohomish County Jail employee has pleaded guilty to a felony for smuggling opioids to inmates.
Alexis Wafstet, 46, of Everett, admitted guilt to introducing contraband in the second degree Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
She worked as a classification specialist at the jail from 2014 to 2020, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. In that position, she was tasked with deciding housing situations for those behind bars.
On May 3, 2020, the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force was alerted to possible drug smuggling in the jail, according to charging papers. More than 10 detectives on the task force worked on the case to identify the smuggler. Detectives reviewed hours of phone calls, video chats and messages between six inmates, as well as their communications with people outside the jail.
Detectives found two inmates in possession of buprenorphine, a narcotic opioid.
While reviewing phone calls made in Spanish, a corrections deputy heard references to an “older lady” who worked as a counselor at the jail and lived nearby. The deputy also listened to a phone call in which an inmate asked for an update on “presents” that were supposed to arrive.
The same corrections deputy recalled Wafstet lived nearby, because he once gave her a ride to work in a snowstorm.
Detectives interviewed Wafstet. At first she claimed not to know anything about drugs being smuggled into the jail, according to the charges.
Wafstet went on to tell detectives she had been threatened by a man who was not in jail. He wore a blue bandana over his face and showed her a picture of her 24-year-old son, she said. He gave her a note, ordering her to do what he said or her son could be hurt, according to her account. Wafstet later reported meeting with the man at a QFC by her house. He gave her something wrapped in a rubber glove, and was told to give it to an inmate in the jail. She assumed it was drugs, she told police.
The jail employee also reportedly said she brought the inmate another package on a different day but didn’t know what was inside.
Wafstet was arrested for investigation of possessing heroin and other drugs. She was booked into jail May 12, 2020. At the time, she was under investigation for smuggling narcotics into the jail at least three times, according to the sheriff’s office.
After she was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, the Everett woman resigned from her position in December 2020. A landmark state Supreme Court ruling in State v. Blake effectively made the simple possession charge moot. Prosecutors amended the charges to a single count of introducing contraband.
Under state guidelines, she faces a standard sentencing range of one to three months behind bars.
Wafstet was not required to post bail as she awaited court hearings, and she remained out of jail last week.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 8.
Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; email@example.com; Twitter: @reporterellen