Feds Charge Six Philly Prison Guards With Smuggling OxyContin to Inmates
On Wednesday afternoon United States Attorney Zane David Memeger announced charges of attempted extortion and attempted distribution of controlled substances against four current and two former Philadelphia prison guards.
According to the feds, each guard promised to deliver OxyContin — and in some cases, a cell phone — to an inmate in exchange for cash. Those charged are as follows: John Wesley Herder, 49, who works at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFCF); Bryant Fields, 43, from the Detention Center; George Kindle, 29, from the House of Corrections; Marc Thompson, 23, who used to work at the House of Corrections; Dupree Myers, 27, formerly with CFCF; and Joseph Romano, 31, from Riverside Correctional Facility. All of those facilities are located in the sprawling prison complex on State Road in the Holmesburg section of Philadelphia, and all of the defendants live in the city.
Thompson is accused of smuggling in 100 OxyContin pills as well as a BlackBerry phone to an inmate for a fee of $1,500. The five other indictments allege similar schemes, but Herder is also charged with lying to authorities when he was interviewed about the cash-for-pills arrangement back in June. Herder is also charged with providing a Nokia phone to a prisoner. (Apparently iPhones aren’t the big deal in prison like they are for the rest of us.) Prosecutors say that the guards’ fees ranged from $500 to $1,500.
The scheme as alleged worked simply enough: Guard meets with an inmate’s purported associate outside of the prison, purported associate hands over cash and contraband to guard, guard pockets cash and delivers contraband to inmate.
“Prison safety depends on prison guards acting with honesty and integrity,” Memeger said in a statement. “Prison guards who violate security procedures by smuggling drugs and other contraband to inmates undermine that safety and make an inherently dangerous environment more dangerous.”
Also in attendance at the announcement at the U.S. Attorney’s office on Chestnut Street were Prisons Commissioner Louis Giorla and FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge William Sweeney.
The maximum sentence for Thompson, Fields, Romano and Myers would be 40 years in prison if convicted, while Herder could face 45 years and Kindle could get 80 years, because he’s accused of making two drug deliveries, while the other guards are accused of making just one each.
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View all the indictments below: