Woman Sentenced in Prison Bribery and Drug Trafficking Case
MISSOULA—Rachel Leanna Ross, 26, of Somerville Tennessee, was sentenced to 14 months in prison, 3 years supervised release, and a $100 surcharge by United States District Court Judge Dana L. Christensen on Friday, March 2, 2018 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and 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’ imprisonment; Erin Bernhardt, to 14 months’ imprisonment; Ian Scott Barclay to 92 months’ imprisonment; and Lauren Hoskins to 14 months’ imprisonment.
The charge against Ross 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, the Montana State Prison Warden 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 Kurt Alme stated, “I applaud the efforts of the Warden and his staff and the cooperative efforts of law enforcement involved in this investigation to keep drugs out of the Montana State Prison and root out corrupt employees. The sentences issued by the court send a powerful message that those who prey upon the addictions of inmates will be investigated, prosecuted, and imprisoned.”