A Lancaster pair, Ryan Hawes, 25, and Brittney Turner, 29, are among eight people indicted recently by a federal grand jury on charges that they were members of a network that smuggled methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana into Calipatria State Prison. At press time, Turner remained at large.
The other defendants include Los Angeles residents Nathaniel Frazier, 28, and Tameika Watts, 29; Myesha Walters, 34, of West Covina; Angela Carr, 44, of Moreno Valley, and Calipatria inmates D’Mondo Burns, 26, and Brandon Carroll.
Carr, reportedly the key defendant, is a former supervisory drug counselor at Calipatria where she routinely met with inmates attending the prison’s substance abuse program.
“While occupying a position of trust, Ms. Carr is alleged to have facilitated the distribution of drugs within the prison population at Calipatria State Prison, thereby undermining the correction and rehabilitation of its inmates,” said Eric S. Birnbaum, an FBI special agent. Four of Carr’s co-defendants were inmates—three of whom participated in her drug-addiction recovery program. Burns was a drug counseling mentor to other inmates.
A search warrant affidavit revealed that Carr received the drugs from the inmates’ girlfriends, identified as Turner, Watts and Walters. Carr reportedly would meet with the women in parking lots of bowling allies and big-box stores to receive the narcotics and contraband. The search warrant further revealed that Carr would bring the drugs—including Xanax, Valium, Soma and Norco—into the prison concealed in potato chip bags, Quaker Oatmeal boxes and cookie and coffee containers. The indictment also alleges that Carr smuggled as many as 40 cell phones at a time into the prison; the phones were to be sold to other inmates and used to coordinate criminal activity both inside and outside the facility.
“We’re putting everyone on notice: whatever part you play in the prison smuggling equation, you’re going to be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.
If convicted, the eight defendants face maximum life sentences in prison.