Officer pleads to smuggling tobacco in W.Va.

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) - A correctional officer has pleaded guilty to taking about $40,000 in exchange for smuggling tobacco into Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer in Glenville.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jason Noel Squires pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to bribe public officials, and aiding and abetting bribery of a public official. Both felonies.

Squires' girlfriend, 24-year-old Nikole Monique Watkins, also pleaded to the same charges.

Prosecutors say that Squires smuggled tobacco to give to inmates multiple times in 2012. In exchange, inmates had contacts outside the prison send money to Watkins.

U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley will sentence the couple at a later date. They each face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Both are free on bond.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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