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News in Brief:

Australia: In May 2010, guards at the Mobilong prison in South Australia discovered a fake gun made of matchsticks. Prison staff searched an unnamed prisoner and found the faux weapon after they noticed him behaving suspiciously. Authorities described the matchstick gun as highly realistic; it was apparently made in the prison’s hobby crafts program. The prisoner was transferred to the high-security Yatala prison in Adelaide, banned from any type of craft activities, and charged with a felony under the Correctional Services Act.

California: On April 20, 2010, Constantine Peter Kallas, assistant chief counsel at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Los Angeles, was convicted on federal charges of bribery, fraud, conspiracy, identity theft and obstruction of justice. The jury found that Kallas had been taking bribes from immigrants in exchange for helping them re-solve legal issues and avoid deportation. His wife also pleaded guilty. The couples’ illicit activities, which spanned a 10-year period, netted over $1 million.

Connecticut: On May 6, 2010, a jury cleared former judicial marshal Manfred Vives, 41, of a sex assault charge but convicted him of disorderly conduct for swapping sweets for sexual misconduct involving a prisoner. Vives was charged with giving baked goods to a 19-year-old woman in a holding cell in exchange for watching her flash her breasts and kiss another female prisoner in 2007. Prosecutors argued that he also touched the 19-year-old’s breast, but the jury apparently didn’t believe that claim. Vives was fired from his judicial marshal position after he was charged.

District of Columbia: Thomas Ford, 35, formerly a guard at the Correctional Treatment Facility, was sentenced on May 27, 2010 to a year and a day in prison on a charge of bribery of a public official. Ford admitted that he accepted cash payments in ex-change for agreeing to smuggle cell phones, an iPod and a charger to a prisoner cooperating with an FBI investigation into corrupt guards. The facility is operated by Corrections Corp. of America under contract with the D.C. Department of Corrections.

Florida: Jacksonville jail guard Russell Rhoden was returning prisoner Blake Lamar Cooper to his cell after a court appearance on May 26, 2010. According to news reports, Cooper, who is HIV positive, bit Rhoden on the hand as soon as his handcuffs were removed. Cooper has been charged with criminal transmission of AIDS and battery on an officer; he remains incarcerated pending trial.

Florida: Katrina Wade was arrested for drug trafficking in May 2010 and held at the Charlotte County Jail. Other prisoners informed guards that Wade was continuing to deal drugs by selling nickel bags of heroin that she had smuggled into the facility in her vagina. She reportedly traded the drugs for commissary items, including deodorant and a radio. Wade admitted she had heroin concealed in her vagina after being questioned by investigators, who said they would use an ul-trasound device to examine her. She has been charged with two additional felonies and a misdemeanor for smuggling drugs into the jail and selling them.

Florida: Amy Marie Hager, 33, was arrested on June 6, 2010 after deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic violence complaint. When trying to place Hager into a transport van to take her to jail, she jerked away and told the officers she had defecated in her pants. She then “turned and grabbed fecal matter from her shorts and threw it,” soiling one deputy. Hagar reportedly said, “Damn, I only hit one of you,” according to an incident report. She was charged with domestic aggravated battery, battery on a law enforcement officer, assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest with violence.

Georgia: BOP employee Michelle Dunmeyer, 46, pleaded guilty in federal court on May 14, 2010 to stealing government funds that she used to buy electronics and gasoline. Dunmeyer was a contract specialist at USP Atlanta; her duties included buying items for the prison and its employees. She was given a government credit card to make the purchases, plus access to a gasoline card for government vehicles that she drove to perform her duties. Dunmeyer used the cards to purchase more than $15,000 worth of electronics and $6,000 in gas for herself. She faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in restitution when she is sentenced on July 13.

Indiana: On May 21, 2010, Bradley McMahan, 48, a guard at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, was arrested and suspended for trafficking contraband. McMahan allegedly smuggled two cell phones and a can of tobacco into the facility for prisoner Fred Bishop, who was housed in the prison’s segregation unit.

Mexico: Suspected drug cartel hitmen abducted prison warden Luis Navarro as he reported for work on the morning of May 29, 2010. Parts of Navarro’s body were later found in gift bags at four locations near police stations in Morelos state. At least two of the packages contained messages threatening police and other public officials. Drug violence is raging across Mexico and almost 23,000 people have been killed in fighting among the cartels and with Mexican security forces since President Felipe Calderon launched his army-led crackdown on drug gangs in 2006.

Michigan: On April 21, 2010, Tameca Brown, 37, a guard at an Ionia prison, pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace (a misdemeanor) and was ordered to pay a $150 fine. She had originally been charged with felony assault for hitting prisoner Daniel Ervin, 18, who was handcuffed at the time. Brown said Ervin had lunged at her. The misdemeanor conviction will result in administrative discipline, but she will likely keep her job. Other Michigan prison guards rallied to support Brown and condemned the district attorney for filing charges against her.

Ohio: Summit County jail guard Jeffrey Dempsey was suspended for 10 days after assaulting a detainee on February 21, 2010. The incident was captured on surveillance video, which shows Dempsey striking prisoner Douglas Brown in the head, grabbing him by the neck and forcing him to the ground after he was uncooperative during fingerprinting. The assault occurred after Brown, who was being held for drunken disorderly conduct, gave Dempsey the finger.

Oklahoma: Here’s some good advice: Do not turn your marijuana over to courthouse officers when going through a security checkpoint. Vaughn Ray Jones, Jr., 28, was arrested at the Oklahoma City courthouse after making that mistake. When he went to the courthouse on June 1, 2010, he placed his belongings on a tray at the checkpoint, including a bag of marijuana. He ran away when confronted by deputies but was arrested the next day when he returned to the courthouse. “You gotta wonder about somebody that’s gonna bring marijuana in a courthouse, put it in a bowl – that’s gotta be a mis-take,” said Cleveland County Deputy Steve Lucas.
Pennsylvania: Kevin Atkins, 45, a guard at SCI Camp Hill, was arrested in April 2010 for attempting to sell marijuana to prisoners. State troopers learned of Atkins’ plan from a confidential source. They arranged a sting where he purchased more than four ounces of marijuana from an undercover trooper and admitted he intended to sell it to prisoners. He is be-ing held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Tennessee: On May 12, 2010, about 35 Vermont prisoners being held at the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason refused to return to their cells, according to a statement from Corrections Corp. of America, which operates the prison. The prisoners then began destroying personal and facility property. CCA guards used chemical agents and subdued the prisoners within about 30 minutes. The cause of the riot was not reported; both CCA and Vermont officials are investigating.

Texas: On May 19, 2010, Rogelio Cannady was executed for murdering his cellmate in October 1993. Cannady, 37, didn’t deny fatally beating 55-year-old Leovigildo Bonal with a belt and padlock, but insisted the attack at the McConnell Unit in Beeville was self-defense as a result of Bonal’s sexual advances. Cannady was already serving two life sentences for killing two teenagers. He had always maintained that he was innocent of the double murder but pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty. “I got scared,” he said from death row. “I was afraid I’d get the death penalty. Ironically, I did.”

Texas: On May 24, 2010, Edgar Balthazar Garcia, 30, was one of two prisoners who received the death penalty from U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Crone for the 2007 homicide of fellow prisoner Gabriel Rhone, who was stabbed more than 50 times at the federal prison in Beaumont. A jury had found Garcia and Mark Issac Snarr, 34, guilty of capital mur-der and recommended the death penalty. According to court records, Garcia and Snarr stabbed two guards while being escorted to their cells on Nov. 28, 2007, after slipping out of their hand restraints and pulling concealed shanks. They then grabbed a cell key, unlocked Rhone’s cell and stabbed him repeatedly, including one wound that penetrated his heart. Guards used chemical agents to stop the attack, which was captured on a surveillance camera.

Washington: An arrestee being booked into the Chelan County Regional Justice Center reportedly “astonished” jail officials with the amount of contraband he had hidden in his rectum. The unidentified prisoner reportedly had a cigarette lighter, rolling papers, a bag of tobacco the size of a golf ball, a smaller bag of marijuana, a 1” pipe, eight tattoo needles and a bottle of tattoo ink concealed in his anus. A strip search didn’t reveal any of the contraband items, but a guard later found a plastic bag and tape in a jail toilet, and the prisoner confessed after being questioned.

Washington: An unnamed prisoner at the Washington State Penitentiary is under investigation for butchering a deer. The minimum-security prisoner was working at the facility’s pheasant farm on May 29, 2010 when he killed a deer that had become entangled in netting. About 20 deer roam freely in the area. The prisoner, who had been a butcher before his incarceration, slaughtered the animal with a box cutter. Investigators found about 15 pounds of venison hidden in garbage bags in the farm’s break room. The prisoner has been removed from the work camp pending an investigation.

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