DUBLIN, GA: A Georgia Department of Corrections officer was convicted on federal drug charges after a two-day trial in U.S. District Court.
Lekesia Lashea Harden, 23, of Dublin, was convicted on one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Methamphetamine, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and includes a period of supervised release after completion of the prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
Harden, who worked as a corrections officer at Wheeler Correctional Facility, a medium-security, privately owned state prison in Alamo, Ga., was indicted along with her boyfriend, Tremayne O. Linder, 30, of Dublin, who recently pled guilty to the same charge.
“A corrections officer undoubtedly understood the potential risk of associating with a convicted felon and engaging in drug trafficking,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “She now faces substantial time inside a prison cell as the price for her inexcusable violation of the law.”
Officers from the Dublin Police Department and Georgia Department of Community Supervision visited Harden and Linder’s residence April 9, 2018, to serve Linder with an arrest warrant for failing to complete requirements of probation. During a subsequent search of the residence, officers found 12 small packages, two containing methamphetamine and 10 containing marijuana. As noted in court documents and testimony, the marijuana was wrapped in electrical tape with some of the packages containing rolling papers, a sign that the material was packaged for contraband delivery to prison.
“Harden decided that her relationship with a convicted felon was more important than the oath she swore as a corrections officer,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker. “Unfortunately, her decision taints every law enforcement officer who upholds their oath daily. But they can rest assured that she is being held accountable.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Dublin Police Department, and prosecuted for the United States by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marchman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Syms.