Tacoma - A former guard at the Green Hill School, a juvenile rehabilitation facility in Chehalis, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to extortion under the color of official right, for taking bribes in exchange for delivering contraband, including illegal drugs, into the secure facility. Julio W. Hayes, 40, was terminated as a staffer in February 2020 following an FBI operation that uncovered HAYES was accepting bribes and smuggling drugs and other contraband. Hayes will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Bryan on October 1, 2021.
According to records filed in the case, Hayes began working as a guard at Green Hill School in November 2018. Despite the fact that Hayes had significant training regarding his ethical obligations as an employee of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (which operates Green Hill School), Hayes began accepting bribes from offenders or their family and friends in May 2019 for smuggling marijuana, iPhones, vape pens, and chewing tobacco into the facility. Hayes was paid in cash and via electronic payments such as Cash App and accepted more than $11,000 before his employment was terminated in February 2020.
Court documents describe various text messages and electronic payments where Hayes essentially took orders from offenders as to the types of contraband they wanted him to bring to the facility. Hayes and the offenders would set the pricing and payment amounts for his services. On February 25, 2020, law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on Hayes on his way to work. In his possession, Hayes had marijuana packaged for smuggling into the facility, as well as three vape cartridges containing liquid marijuana.
Extortion Under Color of Official Right, is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Judge Bryan will determine the appropriate sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Chehalis Police Department and the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET) in Lewis County.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Arnold and Michael Dion.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.