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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Former Correctional Officer at Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon Sentenced

Justin Brown Previously Admitted to Public Corruption Charges

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – A correctional officer at Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon, who agreed to smuggle contraband items into the facility, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.

 

Justin Andrew Brown, 23, of Lebanon, Va., was sentenced today to six months in prison and six months house arrest, followed by three years of supervised release. He was forfeited $6,500. Brown previously pleaded guilty to one count of accepting a bribe as a public official, and one count of conspiring to accept a bribe as a public official.

 

Robert Lewis Jones, 25, also previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to accept a bribe as a public official. Jones will be sentenced on November 29, 2017.

 

According to evidence presented at a previous hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee, Brown was a correctional officer at Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon. In the summer of 2015, an inmate approached Brown about smuggling contraband, specifically tobacco, controlled substances and nude pictures into the jail. Following numerous discussions with the inmate, Brown agreed to smuggle controlled substances, tobacco and nude pictures into Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in exchange for $10,000 in United States currency.  Law enforcement agents became aware of Brown’s plan in March of 2016.  With the assistance of a cooperating witness, law enforcement arranged for a meeting between Brown and the cooperating witness at which Brown believed he would be receiving $10,000 in United States currency and various contraband items that he was to smuggle into the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail.  Brown offered Jones $2,000 to “watch his back” during the meeting. 

 

The meeting between Brown, Jones, and the cooperating witness occurred on March 22, 2016, at a restaurant in Abingdon.  At the meeting, Jones and Brown took possession of the contraband items and a quantity of United States currency and Brown agreed to smuggle the contraband items into the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail facility.  Shortly thereafter, law enforcement arrested both Brown and Jones.  

 

The investigation of the case was conducted by Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Abingdon Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Zachary T. Lee prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated November 9, 2017