Judge questioning source of guard's bail money in alleged Vegas Strip shooter cellphone case

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LAS VEGAS — A judge asked for more information Wednesday about the source of bail money that a former Nevada state corrections officer wants to post to serve house arrest while facing charges that he smuggled contraband to Las Vegas Strip shooting and crash suspect Ammar Harris.

Derland Blake's lawyer, Jonathan MacArthur, said Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis in Las Vegas gave him until Friday to answer questions about the $50,000 Blake would post while awaiting a Sept. 3 preliminary hearing.

Prosecutors have raised questions about whether the money was legally obtained.

MacArthur said Blake resigned in July from the Nevada Department of Corrections but faces "significant" risk of harm from other inmates at the Clark County jail in Las Vegas.

Blake, 30, is one of six people accused of smuggling cellphones, food, methamphetamines and vodka to Harris at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs. He faces seven charges of felony bribery, misconduct and furnishing a portable telecommunications device to a state prison, and one misdemeanor conspiracy count.

Also Wednesday, a preliminary hearing in Las Vegas Justice Court was canceled for three women charged in the phone smuggling case — Olga Gonzalez, Re'ann Atkinson and Charmaine Simmons.

Gonzalez and Atkinson, who also uses the name Gadson, are due in Clark County District Court on Sept. 8. Simmons' next court date is Jan. 26 in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Harris and Derrick McKnight are scheduled for arraignment Sept. 3 on charges of possession of a portable telecommunications device by a prisoner. Nevada state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed those charges Aug. 14. An arrest warrant was issued for Amy Colon, 33, of Atlanta.

McKnight, 35, is serving life in prison without parole for his role in the fatal December 2006 shooting of former professional basketball player-turned-real estate broker Kenneth Hardwick during a botched robbery in Henderson.

Harris, 28, is serving 16 years to life in state prison for his conviction last year in a June 2010 sex attack and robbery case. That trial served as a prelude to Harris' upcoming death penalty trial in the Las Vegas Strip shooting and fiery crash that left three people dead and shocked the community in February 2013.

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