Suspect Accused Of Smuggling Drugs Inside A Prison Has Plea Deal Rejected

One of the suspects accused of smuggling drugs into the Big Sandy Federal Prison in Martin County pleads guilty after striking a deal with prosecutors.

But the judge rejected that plea deal late Wednesday afternoon.

28 year old Tameka Haliburton said in court she wanted to change her plea to guilty and that's just what she did.

Haliburton lives in Michigan now but is charged with conspiracy to take drugs into the Big Sandy Penitentiary and also charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

After she changed her plea to guilty on both of those charges, the US Attorney and Haliburton's defense attorney announced hey had a plea agreement.

WYMT couldn't get a copy of the agreement, but Judge Gregory Vantatenhove said in court it was six pages long and both prosecuting and defense attorneys signed it along with Haliburton herself.

In court proceedings, attorneys said the plea deal gave up Haliburton's right to appeal her guilty plea but she kept a right to appeal her sentence.

While Judge Vantatenhove reviewed the plea deal, he asked both attorneys a lot of questions.

He asked her to describe what she did, and that's when she admitted, quote, "she gave a bag of heroin to someone."

Afterwards, the Judge met with both attorneys and then announced he would not accept the plea agreement.

Haliburton's guilty plea still stands and she will be sentenced in April where she could face up to 20 years in prison.

Both US Attorney Greg Ousley and Defense Attorney Kent Varney said they couldn't comment.

We also contacted prison officials and they said they have no comment.

Another woman accused, Alice Stapleton, is scheduled for trial next month in federal court in London.


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