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Press Release

Former Anamosa Correctional Officer Sentenced to Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A former Anamosa State Penitentiary correctional officer who smuggled contraband into the prison for prisoner use and illegally used controlled substances while possessing assault rifles on duty was sentenced today to more than four years in federal prison.

Garrett Barton, age 29, from Anamosa, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 13, 2015, guilty plea to one count of a Hobbs Act Extortion Under Color of Official Right (accepting bribes to smuggle contraband into the prison) and one count of being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms.

In a plea agreement, Barton admitted that from July 2010 until February 2015, he was employed as a correctional officer with the Iowa Department of Corrections, serving most of that time at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.  In November 2014, Barton accepted cash from an inmate (provided to him through the inmate’s girlfriend) to smuggle two cell phones into the prison for use by inmates.  Other public records demonstrated that Barton also smuggled controlled substances into the prison for inmate use.  He also sold and traded controlled substances with other correctional officers.  The plea agreement reflects that Barton admitted he was an unlawful drug user while employed at the penitentiary.  During that time he possessed four personal firearms, and was issued assault rifles scores of times while standing guard duty in the prison towers.

“This defendant chose to place his own greed above the safety of other Iowa Department of Corrections employees as well as the public he was sworn to protect. Those who agree to smuggle contraband into federal and state prisons can expect to join the inmates from whom they are attempting to profit,” said United States Attorney Kevin W. Techau.

Anamosa State Penitentiary Warden William Sperfslage stated after Barton’s sentencing, “Mr. Barton failed in his mission to the citizens of Iowa that he was hired to protect.  He also placed his coworkers in danger by providing contraband to offenders.  In doing so, we believe it very appropriate that he is now sentenced to a period of incarceration in a correctional facility.”  Sperfslage went on to add, “While we find these actions unacceptable, we also recognize they are his actions and not a reflection on the remaining staff that perform their duties every day and who model the positive behavior we work to instill in the offenders we supervise.”

Barton was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  Barton was sentenced to 57 months’ imprisonment and fined $7,500.  A special assessment of $200 was imposed.  He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Barton was released pending imprisonment and is to surrender to the United States Marshals Service in Cedar Rapids on February 24, 2016.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney C.J. Williams and Special Assistant United States Attorney Erin Eldridge, and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Iowa Department of Corrections. 

Court file information at 

The case file number is 15-cr-0091-LRR.

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Updated February 4, 2016

Public Corruption
Drug Trafficking