The Snohomish County Jail in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

The Snohomish County Jail in Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

Snohomish County jail employee suspected of drug smuggling

The jail specialist, 44, was arrested and placed on leave. The alleged plot involved eight inmates.

EVERETT — A Snohomish County Jail employee was arrested this week for investigation of possessing heroin and other drugs.

She’s also under investigation for smuggling narcotics into the jail at least three times, according to her employer, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Alexis Wafstet, 44, a classification specialist tasked with deciding housing situations for those behind bars, was booked into the jail herself around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday amid an investigation into an alleged smuggling plot involving eight inmates.

The sheriff’s office did not identify her by name when the arrest was publicly announced Thursday. However, The Daily Herald confirmed her identity through readily available public records.

Jail staff alerted the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force of possible drug smuggling on May 3, according to the sheriff’s office. More than 10 detectives on the task force worked the case to identify the source of contraband. After discovering evidence pointing to the employee, police interviewed her Tuesday.

According to the sheriff’s office, she admitted having drugs at her home in Everett; she let detectives search the home; and they found a package wrapped in a nitrile glove. Inside the package were 3.8 grams of heroin, less than a half-gram of the opioid medication buprenorphine and other unidentified pills, according to the sheriff’s office.

No other details about the actual plot or the other eight suspects had been released as of Thursday.

About three hours after being booked into jail on two counts of felony possession of a controlled substance, Wafstet posted bond. She has been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard policy. She has been employed by the sheriff’s office since 2014.

The sheriff’s office expects she will face more charges, depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Court records suggested Wafstet had not appeared in front of a judge as of Thursday. It’s unclear if she has retained an attorney.

Sheriff Adam Fortney released a written statement Thursday.

“I am incredibly proud of and I would like to personally thank the corrections deputy who intercepted the inmate communications and immediately reported it,” Fortney said. “… While this is a difficult moment for our organization, I couldn’t be more proud of the response, coordination, and dedication displayed amongst our staff throughout this investigation.”

Prosecutor Adam Cornell said he expected the case will be handled in Snohomish County, rather than a neighboring county, as is sometimes done to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Any decision about charges, Cornell said, will be consistent with the facts of the case and the law.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

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