Facebook Photo Leads to Indictment of 7 Jail Guards

Originally published on September 11, 2014, at NationofChange.org

Seven York County Jail corrections officers have been indicted on drug smuggling and conspiracy charges by a grand jury. The investigation began in February when an officer in central Maine found a Facebook photo taken by an inmate inside his jail cell. The inmate allegedly sold drugs and other illicit contraband supplied by his guards.

On February 26, York County Jail inmate Chase Bellefountaine added a profile picture of himself standing inside his cell. After seeing the photo posted on Facebook, a law enforcement officer in central Maine recognized the background and notified York County Jail officials that Bellefountaine had likely smuggled a cell phone into the facility. Guards searched his cell and belongings but could not locate the cell phone.

As the investigation continued, law enforcement officials received information that Bellefountaine had been selling drugs in jail. Officer Connor Bogan reportedly smuggled marijuana and suboxone into the jail for Bellefountaine to distribute. In one incident, a corrections officer allegedly smuggled drugs into the jail and delivered them to Bellefountaine’s girlfriend, Mercedes Cullicutt, who was visiting. Bellefountaine, Cullicutt, and former inmate Gregory Morin were indicted for possessing and trafficking drugs.

A search of Bellefountaine’s phone records revealed his connection to the corrections officers supplying him with drugs, cigarettes, and the cell phone used to take his Facebook photo. Officers Connor Bogan and Steven Thomas have been indicted on a felony count of trafficking in prison contraband. Bogan has also been charged with drug possession, while Thomas has been charged with official oppression and conspiracy for attempting to cover up their crimes.

Officers Jay Bodnar, Anthony Klingensmith, Richard Lane, Chris Langlais, and Nathan Watson also face charges of official oppression. Klingensmith, Lane, and Langlais have been charged with conspiracy, while Bodnar has been charged with falsifying or destroying evidence. Bogan, Bondar, and Watson have resigned from their jobs, while officers Klingensmith, Lane, Langlais, and Thomas remain on paid leave.

Within a week, four other guards have been arrested in separate incidents for smuggling drugs and contraband into prison. On September 2, corrections officer Ramon Rosales was arrested for committing bribery, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, and bringing a controlled substance into a state prison. He had been a corrections officer at Centinela State Prison for 18 years.

In Fort Stockton, corrections officer Erick Carbajal allegedly planned to purchase drugs and smuggle them into the Lynaugh Corrections Unit. After learning of his plans, Texas Department of Criminal Justice investigators sent an undercover agent to sell methamphetamine to Carbajal. He was immediately arrested after purchasing the meth and charged with possession of a controlled substance.

On September 3, corrections officer Devetta Stokes was arrested while working at Maury Correctional Institute. She resigned after being charged with possession of a controlled substance at a prison, possession of a controlled substance schedule III, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

In Georgia, the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Department has arrested detention officer Felicia Ruiz for smuggling contraband into the jail and violating her oath. Sheriff Kevin Sproul immediately fired Ruiz upon her arrest.

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