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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy Inside Stillwater Prison

ST. PAUL, Minn. – A former corrections officer has pleaded guilty to her role in a methamphetamine distribution organization within the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF)-Stillwater, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, Faith Rose Gratz, 24, a former MCF – Stillwater corrections officer, and co-defendant Axel Rene Kramer, 34, an inmate who is currently serving a 288-month sentence for second degree murder, conspired with each other to distribute methamphetamine within MCF – Stillwater, Minnesota’s largest high security prison facility. As part of the conspiracy, Kramer obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from sources of supply outside the prison. After Kramer and another co-conspirator inmate worked with the drug suppliers to arrange meet up times and locations, Gratz would pick up the drug packages. Gratz used her position as a prison guard to smuggle the drugs into the secure facility and then provide the drugs to Kramer while she was on duty guarding him. Gratz did this on approximately six different occasions. Gratz also smuggled into the prison multiple cell phones that she provided to Kramer. Kramer used the cell phones to communicate with people inside and outside the prison and to facilitate his drug distribution network from within the prison.

According to court documents, Gratz and Kramer exchanged hundreds of text messages with each other. The messages included communications about the drug distribution conspiracy as well as discussions about their romantic relationship. Gratz also warned Kramer about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells.

On April 8, 2022, after recovering Kramer’s cell phone, law enforcement officers confronted Gratz about the drug distribution operation. Officers searched Gratz’s car and recovered a half pound of methamphetamine.

Gratz pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Bayport Police Department, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry M. Jacobs is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated September 7, 2022