Prison guard admits to smuggling drugs for inmates, details how he did it

Prison guard admits to smuggling drugs for inmates, details how he did it
Damas' January arrest
Damas' January arrest

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former guard at Halawa Correctional Facility told a federal judge Tuesday how he was able to get meth to inmates.

45-year old Mark Damas changed his plea from 'not guilty', to 'guilty'. He also detailed the plan for Judge J. Michael Seabright, saying inmates would put in 'orders' for drugs and organize meetings with people on the outside. Damas would show up at these meeting to get the orders filled.

He'd then take the drugs, mostly meth, and hide the bag at a drop location, somewhere near the prison because he would be searched when he entered. Damas said someone else would pick up the items and put them in the 'comment card' box which had a broken lock. He would get them out of the box and distribute to inmates.

Damas would get a cut of the money from the sale of the drugs.

Only Hawaii News Now was there when Damas was arrested by federal agents in January.

He was fired from the Department of Public Safety in April.

"Ultimately he thought it was in his best interest (to plead guilty)," says his attorney, Rustam Barbee, "The evidence in the case was pretty compelling in favor of the government's case."

Damas was scolded by the judge at one time during the hearing.  It appeared that he was not admitting to all of the crimes and Judge Seabright said, "Stop wasting my time." He also said he was not accepting the change in plea. After Damas spoke in private with his attorney, Rustam Barbee, that was resolved and Damas continued with his admission.

He faces anywhere from five to forty years in prison when he is sentenced in September.

Judge Seabright also reluctantly allowed Damas to remain free until sentencing saying, "You are on a very short leash."

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