Columbia, South Carolina-------United States Attorney Beth Drake announced the indictment and arrest of fourteen former employees of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) on federal charges related to accepting bribes and bringing contraband into South Carolina prisons.
The federal violations include: Use of Interstate Facilities to Facilitate Bribery, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1952; Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud Depriving South Carolina of the Right to Honest Services, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; and Possession with Intent to Distribute Narcotics, in violation 21 U.S.C. § 841.
The individuals charged include: Rachel Burgess (age 39); Joshua Cave (age 29); Jamal Early (age 23), James Harvey (age 54), Douglas Hawkins (age 29), Robert Hill (age 53), Sharon Johnson-Breeland (age 29), Darnell Kleckley (age 33), Holly Mitchem (age 37), Frank Pridgeon (age 64), Catherine Prosser (age 60), Camille Williams (age 65), Miguel Williams (age 41), and Shatara Wilson (age 29). All defendants were arraigned on their respective indictments today.
Since 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has partnered with state law enforcement to investigate the smuggling of contraband into prisons by staff at SCDC. The investigation uncovered a number of SCDC employees who accepted bribes to smuggle into prison various contraband, such as cell phones, narcotics, or tobacco. Additionally, joint investigations over the last year, targeting the use of contraband cell phones in our state prisons, have led to the federal convictions of multiple defendants in two other prosecutions in the upstate and most recently, just last week, in Columbia. See links below.
Inmate and Conspirator Convicted of Using Contraband Cellphone to Deal Drugs and Obtain a Mail Bomb from the Dark Web
Jury Convicts Spartanburg Brothers in Federal Court of Drug and Money Laundering Charges (sentencing hearing is scheduled for Friday, April 27th, 2018, at 9:30 am at the G. Ross Anderson, Jr. Federal Building United States Courthouse, 315 South McDuffie Street, Anderson, SC 29624)
Fifteen Charged in Drug Trafficking Ring that Operated from Inside South Carolina Prisons
This operation was a combined law enforcement effort by the FBI, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), SCDC, and U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. Attorney Beth Drake commended the partnership: “This operation signals our joint commitment to prosecute those who abuse their position for personal gain at the cost of the safety of our communities and prisons. If you have information about public employees and officials abusing their position, please contact the Columbia (South Carolina) FBI office at (803) 551-4200 or www.fbi.gov/tips.”
This case is assigned for prosecution to Assistant United States Attorney Jay Richardson and Assistant United States Attorney Will Lewis.
The United States Attorney stated that all charges in these indictments are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.