A guard at the Federal Correctional Institution at Summit, a former inmate at the prison and the inmate’s girlfriend have been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to smuggle prohibited items into the prison and sell them to inmates.
Those items included cell phones, tobacco, marijuana and sexually explicit photographs, according to the eight-page indictment, returned Thursday by a U.S. District Court grand jury sitting at Covington.
Charged in the true bill were James S. Lewis, 45, of Ironton, whom the indictment states was correctional officer/materials handler at FCI-Summit at the time of the alleged offenses; Gary Musick, 32, who was in inmate at the institution; and Cindy Gates, 23, of Newport, Tenn., Musick’s girlriend. Gates was on Musick’s approved visitor list while he was incarcerated at FCI, the indictment states.
The indictment charges Lewis, Musick and Gates with one count each of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Lewis also is charged with accepting bribes as a public official and Music with providing or possessing contraband in prison.
Lewis could get up to 20 years in prison and be fined up to $20,000 if he is convicted, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington. Music could have up to 10 years added to his sentence and be fined up to $250,000. Gates faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentences the three might receive would be imposed after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines.
Musick is currently an inmate of the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City, Ark., according to Bureau of Prisons’ online inmate locater. His current release date is Dec. 8, 2020.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy took place from Dec. 1, 2010, to March 5, 2012. As part of the scheme, Lewis, Gates and others, at Musick’s direction, would secure prohibited items and bring them to Ashland. Gates and others would then meet with or leave the items for Lewis, who would then smuggle them into the prison, the indictment states.
Musick also allegedly had other inmates store contraband items for him inside the prison, the indictment states.
Musick and other inmates, acting at his direction would sell the items to their fellow prisoners, the indictment states. If an inmate had sufficient currency on hand in the form of stamps, the item would be retrieved and sold. If the purchaser didn’t have enough to buy what he wanted, he would be directed to send money to an address outside the prison. When the money was delivered, Musick would authorize the release of the item.
The indictment also makes reference to several unnamed co-conspirators, some inmates and some not. In February of 2012, one of those individuals, identified as “CC 4,” mailed more than $7,000 to a post office box in Tennessee that had been rented by Gates.
Another co-conspirator, “CC 1,” left marijuana in a motel room in Ashland that was later picked up by Lewis, the indictment states.
The indictment also describes how Lewis purchased four pre-paid cell phones and delivered them to Musick, and Musick used the devices to orchestrate the scheme from behind bars. One of those phones was seized inside the prison.
Bureau of Prisons’ rules prohibit employees from having contact with family members and friends of inmates and from conducting any type of financial dealings with inmates and/or their families, according to the indictment. Visitors and employees also are prohibited from introducing any type of item into a federal prison that isn’t approved by the institution.
Lewis, Musick and Gates all are scheduled to be arraigned in Ashland before Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 26.
A grand jury indictment is a formal accusation of a crime and does not establish guilt.
KENNETH HART can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2654.