LEXINGTON, Ky. - A former correctional officer at United States Penitentiary Big Sandy, in Martin County, was sentenced today to serve 78 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000 by United States District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove.
Alice Marie Stapleton, 31, was found guilty by a federal jury in February 2007, of smuggling prohibited items, such as marijuana, heroin, and cell phones into Big Sandy for inmate Personee McGhee, in exchange for money. Correctional officers and their belongings are not subject to search when they report for duty.
In July 2006, Stapleton was stopped by the Kentucky State Police and the FBI after surveillance revealed she was in possession of drugs. A search of her vehicle found approximately a pound of marijuana, an ounce of heroin, two cellular telephones with chargers, and $1,000 in cash.
During the conspiracy, inmate McGhee would call his mother Clady McGhee, and ask her to pick up "legal papers," code for drugs, from different individuals including Maria Mimms.
After picking up the items from Mimms in Indianapolis, Ind., Clady McGhee would travel to Paintsville, Ky. Stapleton would meet Clady McGhee, at a motel in Paintsville to pick up the contraband items, in exchange for about $800 to $1,000 each time.
Mimms was found guilty by a federal jury for conspiracy to provide an inmate with prohibited objects, and conspiring to distribute controlled substances. Mimms was also sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Van Tatenhove to serve 21 months in federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Amul Thapar said he was impressed by the work done by the Bureau of Prisons, FBI and U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, to keep out those who are tarnishing the reputation of the many valuable employees of the Bureau of Prisons.
"Just as the communities we serve hold a high respect for the law, so do the employees," Thapar said. "Individuals who are put in such a position of trust, such as Stapleton, need to put their own greed behind the duties and needs of the nation, just as they swore under oath to do."
Under federal law, Stapleton and Mimms must serve eighty-five percent of their prison sentence. Upon release from prison, they will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for three years.
Clady McGhee would be driven by either Tameka Halliburton, or Grady Perry, to pick up the drugs from Mimms, or other unidentified individuals. They would then drive to a motel in either Paintsville or Inez, to meet Stapleton. Clady Mcghee would put the drugs into a baby powder can to be smuggled in by Stapleton.
Grady Perry, 54, pleaded guilty in November of last year to conspiracy with the intent to distribute heroin and was sentenced in February 2006 to eight months home detention. Clady McGhee, 56, pleaded guilty in October of last year to conspiracy to provide an inmate of a federal prison with contraband items and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute. She was sentenced to three years probation in February 2006.
Personee McGhee, 36, pleaded guilty in October of last year to conspiracy to introduce contraband items into a federal prison and conspiracy to distribute heroin. In February 2006, he was sentenced to two years, which will be consecutive to the life sentence he is currently serving.
Tameka Halliburton, 28, pleaded guilty in January of this year to conspiracy to introduce contraband into a federal prison and conspiracy to distribute heroin and was sentenced in April 2007 to serve three months in prison.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the United States Bureau of Prisons - Special Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert M. Duncan, Jr, and Patrick H. Molloy, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Walasinski.