Suspect allegedly gave inmate diazepam, tramadol.


Editor's Note: Charges were dismissed against Spellbring on March 14th.

FARMINGTON — A nurse at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center has been accused of distributing multiple controlled substances to an inmate.

Rena Spellbring, 48, is accused of four counts of distribution of a controlled substance and a count of conspiracy to commit distribution of a controlled substance, according to court documents.

She is accused of distributing multiple controlled substances to a male inmate at the county jail, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Mark Curnutt, Spellbring's attorney, said they are waiting to review evidence that was collected as part of the investigation.

A detective for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was notified by an employee at the jail in January about a nurse on staff possibly bringing contraband into the jail for an inmate, according to court documents.

Spellbring was a nurse contracted through the jail's medical provider and she no longer works at the jail, according to Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Jayme Harcrow.

The jail became aware of the alleged incidents on Dec. 24 due to an anonymous letter from an inmate sent to staff.

The detective reviewed surveillance video from Dec. 23, which showed a brief visit between Spellbring and the inmate. He was not listed to receive any medication, according to court documents.

Spellbring allegedly handed the inmate a sandwich and "affectionately" touched his arm.

After Spellbring left, the inmate was observed meeting up with multiple individuals and appeared to distribute unknown items or substances.

The detective was advised it was "very abnormal" for inmates to get sandwiches.

Investigators conducted an interview on Jan. 22 with Spellbring and set up a polygraph interview at the Sheriff's Office.

A detective was advised the results from the polygraph interview were "extremely deceptive."

Following the polygraph, Spellbring allegedly told the investigators she gave the inmate Tylenol with codeine, tramadol and diazepam.

A witness at the jail was also interviewed during the investigation.

He told the detectives the inmate allegedly made money from other inmates by distributing Suboxone strips the inmate allegedly obtained from Spellbring, according to court documents.

The affidavit describes Suboxone strips as an item used by drug addicts as an alternative to Heroin and stated can be concealed easily.

Spellbring was released from the county jail per a court order.

Her preliminary hearing is set for the morning of Feb. 21 in Aztec Magistrate Court.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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