News and Press Releases

Former Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty
To Attempting To Smuggle Contraband

June 27, 2012

WAYCROSS, GA – Ryan Felch, 25, a former Corrections Officer at the D. Ray James Correctional Institution, pled guilty yesterday before United States District Court Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood. Felch, of St. George, Georgia, admitted to a charge of attempting to provide contraband to an inmate. D. Ray James is a private corrections facility located in Folkston, Georgia, which houses federal inmates.

The charge against Felch resulted from a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Marshals Service, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. During the guilty plea hearing, the evidence showed that Felch negotiated with a DEA confidential informant to provide two ounces of crack cocaine to an inmate at the D. Ray James facility in exchange for $1,250. Felch was arrested following a successful covert sting operation directed by the investigating agencies.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Public corruption and public official misconduct occurring at a facility which houses federal prisoners cannot be disregarded or administratively discharged. The smuggling of drugs and other contraband into a prison facility seriously undermines good order and security, and places other at risk of injury. There is no excuse for this defendant’s conduct. He was motivated solely by greed, and now he will take his new role as a convicted felon.

Felch faces a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be held upon the completion of a pre-sentence investigation and report.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl Knoche prosecuted the case. For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.



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