SALEM — A man sentenced earlier this month to two to three years in state prison on fentanyl charges has been indicted on charges that he attempted to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Middleton Jail when he was ordered back there by a judge in April. 

Eric Jalbert, 31, had been held on bail at Middleton Jail, awaiting trial on what were originally fentanyl trafficking charges brought as a result of a Salem police investigation, when he contracted the COVID-19 virus back in April. 

He and his attorney convinced a judge to release him, telling her that he would live with his mother in Beverly. 

What the judge was not told was that his mother lived in the Fairweather Apartments on Elliott Street, a subsidized building for elderly and disabled residents — some of whom learned about Jalbert's release from reading The Salem News and immediately began calling the property management company, the newspaper and police. 

Prosecutor John Brennan, who had opposed Jalbert's release, filed a motion to put Jalbert back into custody, which was ordered on April 21. 

But jail officials say that when Jalbert arrived to turn himself in, he was attempting to bring with him 15 strips of Suboxone, a small bag of marijuana and some tobacco, all hidden in a body cavity. 

Jalbert will face charges of possession of a class B substance with intent to distribute and two counts of delivering contraband to a jail as a result of indictments handed up Wednesday by the Essex County grand jury. 

During his sentencing in the fentanyl case earlier this month, Brennan alerted the judge to the pending case. 

An arraignment date has not been set. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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