Corrections officer and alleged accomplice to face drug smuggling charges

A Carson City judge ruled Friday that a corrections officer and a woman will face trial in district court on charges they conspired to smuggle drugs to a Northern Nevada Correction Center inmate.

Terence Craig Peterson, 37, and Terril Lynn Tungate, 44, were bound over to district court after the evidence hearing. The hearing determined that there is enough evidence that the pair committed the crimes to hold them for trial.

Both are charged with felony counts of furnishing drugs to an inmate, drug trafficking, drug possession and conspiracy to supply drugs to a prisoner. The pair were arrested Oct. 17 when prison investigators conducted a sting operation.

They are currently free on bail.

Investigator George W. Scott, of the Nevada Department of Prisons, testified at Friday's hearing that an inmate tip led to phone and mail monitoring.

He said through the surveillance he was able to determine code words for the suspected transaction.

"They defined that they were going to use the code word 'dad' to refer to Officer Peterson," Scott testified. The code words, he said, were used in phone conversations between Tungate and an inmate to describe who would bring the drugs inside prison walls and the amount that would be brought.

The informant gave the information in exchange for consideration for lenient punishment on a positive drug test, he said.

A motion to allow the defendants to face trial separately was denied by Justice of the Peace John Tatro. He said the issue could be argued in district court.

Defense attorneys Kay Armstrong and Karin Lindsay argued that the defendants might implicate each other as components of their own defenses.

"At this point our defenses are going to be antagonistic to each other," Armstrong said. She said Peterson, her client, intends to pursue a "necessity or coercion" defense that would implicate Tungate.

Lindsay said Tungate was saddled with the same problem. An offer put forward this week by the district attorney has a provision that would have her testify against Peterson, she said.

Another motion to severe the cases will likely be put forward when the case is scheduled for district court arraignment.


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