Two charged for using drone to smuggle drugs into Orange County prison

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man living under a stolen identity and a female inmate have been charged with using a drone to smuggle drugs into the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange. The drone carrying the smuggled drugs was found by an inmate worker in a grass area inside the jail two days after it had crashed. The inmate worker alerted Sheriff’s deputies.

Chey Cody Smart, 41, of Costa Mesa, and Megan Elizabeth Donovan, 30, of Fountain Valley, have been charged with one felony count of smuggling controlled substances into a correctional facility and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime.

Smart has also been charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, one felony count of possession of an assault weapon, one felony count of possession of ammunition by a felon, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one felony count of identity theft, one felony count of grand theft auto, one felony count of receiving stolen property, one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property, four misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, and one misdemeanor count of possession of controlled substance paraphernalia, and one misdemeanor count of false representation to a peace officer.

Donovan, who has a previous Orange County conviction for bringing drugs into a correctional facility, faces a maximum sentence of five years state prison if convicted on all charges. Smart, who has a prior drug sales-related felony conviction, faces a maximum sentence of 12 years state prison plus five years and 360 days in the Orange County Jail if convicted on all charges.

On September 12, 2021, Donovan is accused of using a jailhouse phone at the Theo Lacy Facility to help direct Smart on where to land the drone inside the jail. The drone was carrying heroin and methamphetamine, along with Xanax and muscle relaxers.

On September 14, 2021, an inmate worker found the drone in a grass area inside the jail and alerted deputies. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department Custody Intelligence Unit arrested Smart hiding in a Costa Mesa apartment the same day.

Smart is accused of being in possession of meth, cocaine, Xanax, fentanyl and heroin along with several rifles, including an assault weapon. Smart is accused of using an assumed identity to rent a Costa Mesa apartment and buy a 2018 BMW.

“Orange County has seen a resurgence in drug traffic and the jails are no exception as criminals are becoming increasingly creative in their attempts to smuggle drugs into correctional facilities,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Bringing drugs into a custodial setting is not only illegal, it puts the lives of inmates at risk and jeopardizes the safety of the deputies and other staff who work in those facilities. Thankfully the Sheriff’s Custody Intelligence Unit was quickly able to identify and arrest the drone operator and his inmate conspirator so that they can be held accountable.”

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