A corrections assistant from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office was sentenced to one month in jail for smuggling items into an inmate’s jail earlier this year.
Christopher Frederic Baetz, 42, of Blaine, pleaded guilty Tuesday, Sept. 28 in Whatcom County Superior Court to one count of second-degree smuggling, a felony. Baetz was sentenced the same day to one month in prison, according to court records.
Baetz is allowed to serve his sentence on electronic home monitoring, an alternative program to prison, according to the records.
Baetz has been employed by the Sheriff’s Office since 2006. He was to be relieved of his duties pending appropriate administrative action, according to an earlier press release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Baetz was put on administrative leave on February 8 – the day of his arrest. He has not been the subject of any further internal affairs complaints or inquiries, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.
An investigation determined that Baetz smuggled items into the prison and communicated with an inmate for months, according to an earlier Bellingham Herald article.
In early February, an inmate at the Whatcom County Labor Center on Division Street delivered a letter to a corrections assistant expressing concerns about an inmate. The letter said the woman had a cell phone and the situation had been going on for months, according to court records.
MPs searched the unit where the inmate, accused of murdering a family member, was held. A bag of prescription and over-the-counter drugs was found during a strip search of the woman, court records show.
The deputies also found a cell phone, a vape pen, three phone chargers, two cell phone chargers, an e-cigarette pen head, two sticky Velcro pads and an e-cigarette pouch, an e-juice bottle, two Individually wrapped round marijuana candies, an e-cigarette and a pair of headphones in the woman’s bunk, court records show.
When asked how she got the items, she asked MPs to check the cell phone. She was unwilling to reveal who was bringing the contraband to her, but said it was a deputy, according to records.
The deputies looked through the phone and determined that Baetz was the deputy bringing the contraband into the work center, according to the records.
The inmate who wrote the letter about the cell phone also identified Baetz as the assistant smuggling the woman. The inmate said the woman and Baetz were passing notes to each other for several months while he was working. The inmate said Baetz frequently called the unit on the lawyer’s phone at night and spoke for hours with the woman, according to court records.
During the sheriff’s office investigation, the woman told MPs that she and Baetz had started “a real friendship” and would talk about their lives, according to records. Baetz and the woman then began exchanging letters detailing their lives, children, and other things.
The woman then asked Baetz to bring her items, like the cell phone, which Baetz would give her in a brown bag at breakfast, when swapping clothes or towels, or by placing them in the shower in his unit. so she can seize them, according to court records. State.
The woman said she and Baetz would communicate while he was on and off duty, and that on his days off he would message her in the morning and they would communicate throughout the day, according to the reports. court records.
The woman sent Baetz $ 45 through his Paypal account so he didn’t have to pay for the items he gave her, court records show. Baetz used the $ 45 to buy healthy food from Amazon, which he would bring to the woman when they arrived, according to records.
Baetz was arrested as he arrived for work in early February and was taken into custody without incident, records show.