Woman Sentenced in Prison Bribery and Drug Trafficking Case
MISSOULA —Lauren Jane Hoskins, 26, of Somerville, Tennessee, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, 3 years supervised release, and a $100 special assessment by Chief United States District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen on Friday, February 10, 2017 for aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute controlled substances—methamphetamine and Suboxone—into the Montana State Prison The charges were part of a scheme where Erin Bernhardt, an employee in the prison laundry, smuggled the controlled substances into inmates at the prison in exchange for bribes. The crimes occurred between April and August 2015.
The court previously sentenced other members of the scheme to the following sentences: Cordero Robert Metzker, to three years in prison; Erin Bernhardt, to 14 months in prison; and Ian Scott Barclay to 92 months in prison.
The charge against Hoskins is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspector, the Montana Department of Corrections-Division of Investigations, Montana State Prison Warden Leroy Kirkegard and his staff, and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations. Criminal Chief Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Thaggard and Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Starnes prosecuted the case.
United States Attorney Michael Cotter stated, “This is an important case aimed at an ongoing effort to root out public corruption and exclude unlawful controlled substances from the Montana State Prison. The sentence issued by the court sends a powerful message that those who introduce drugs into the prison will be investigated, prosecuted, and imprisoned.” Cotter also praised the cooperation of the various agencies that worked in unison to conduct the investigation and prosecution.