Smuggling of controlled substances is illegal under the law, but federal law allows for enhanced penalties when the smuggling occurs within a federal prison. Nonetheless, every month there are new articles on guards facing indictments from the federal government concerning drug trafficking into the prison. It is especially bad when a representative of the government is accused of smuggling the drugs. Guards end up prisoners more often than not when they engage in these types of subversive deals.
How does the scheme work?
An inmate from inside the prison recruits a guard to act as a go-between for people on the outside and people on the inside. The guard is paid for their services, the inmates sell the drugs inside the prison, and everyone is happy. In fact, one guard who is now facing charges in Alaska was named employee of the year in her prison before facing charges related to drug smuggling.
There are only so many ways to get drugs into a prison from the outside. Recruiting guards is a tried-and-true method of supplying contraband to those on the inside. Both Florida and federal law provide penalties for these charges. However, the penalties under federal law are much more severe than those under Florida’s state law.
While the introduction of contraband to a prison under state law is considered a third-degree penalty punishable by up to 5 years, the penalty under federal law for introducing marijuana to a federal prison is also five years. However, the penalties for introducing other types of drugs into a federal prison can be as high as 20 years.
The defendant is facing a second charge related to bribery which is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison. When you add the two of them together, you get a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in federal prison.
Defenses to these charges
The prosecution will need to establish that the contraband was brought into the federal prison at the behest of an inmate who paid money to the guard. The guard then accepted the money in exchange for introducing the contraband. The prosecution need only establish that this type of communication happened and that the guard did as asked. This will depend entirely on tracking cell phone records and linking the guard to the inmate and the inmate to the drugs. While they may sound complicated, the prosecution will win if they can establish that these communications took place.
Often in a situation like this, guards do poorly because they have more to lose than the people they are doing business with. Other inmates may rat them out to corner the market and once they’re found out, the law has very little sympathy for them.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents the interests of those charged with crimes under both Florida state and federal law. Call our West Palm Beach criminal attorneys today to discuss your situation in more detail and we can begin the process of strategizing your defense.