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North Dakota prison guard sentenced for smuggling phone, meth to inmate

Matthew Taylor, 39, of Mandan, was hired at the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck in March 2020 and was placed on administrative leave when the criminal investigation began.

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The North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck.
Korrie Wenzel / Forum News Service
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BISMARCK — A former North Dakota corrections officer who was found guilty of sneaking meth and a cellphone into the state penitentiary for an inmate was sentenced on Wednesday, June 8, to three years in prison.

Matthew Taylor, 39, of Mandan, had entered a guilty plea to charges of delivery of an electronic device to an inmate and delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in a correctional facility in March. He was facing up to 25 years in prison on both charges.

South Central District Judge Douglas Bahr suspended all but three years of a 10-year sentence. Taylor was also ordered to serve two years of supervised probation, court records show.

In the case, an investigation began in November of 2020 when prison officials notified the North Dakota Highway Patrol of the allegations. An affidavit of probable cause alleged Taylor brought a cellphone, two cards that can be used to operate a cellphone and a cigarette package into the prison.

Taylor told investigators he received payments from a North Dakota woman so he could give the items to Joshua John Gomez, according to court documents. He said he was unsure what was in the cigarette package he brought into the prison on Oct. 12, 2020, but officers found meth in the package, court documents stated.

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The cellphone was brought in about a month earlier, according to court documents.

Gomez was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of an electronic device by an inmate. He pleaded guilty to both charges in November and was sentenced to four years in prison to be served concurrently with his current sentence.

Gomez was serving time at the state penitentiary for a 2018 probation violation in connection to a sexual assault case from 2006. He is now being held at a prison in Jamestown.

No charges were filed against the woman who reportedly paid Taylor.

Taylor was hired at the state penitentiary in Bismarck in March 2020 and was placed on administrative leave when the criminal investigation began. He was fired in December 2020 after an internal investigation by the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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