United States Attorney Sandra J. Stewart announced Thursday that two men from Etowah County had been sentenced for conspiring to bring illegal narcotics into Staton Correctional Facility, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Lamar Graves, Jr., 42, and Derrick Antwon Traylor, 44, had both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
“The presence of drugs in a prison creates an immediate threat to the safety of prisoners and corrections officers alike,” Stewart said in a statement released on Thursday. “Corrections officers have challenging jobs. Those challenges increase exponentially when inmates are using methamphetamine and other dangerous controlled substances. I am grateful for the work of the DEA and the Alabama Department of Corrections in identifying this drug trafficking organization and putting a stop to its activities.”
Graves, who is from Attalla, received 168 months in state custody, followed by five years of supervised release, while Traylor, a resident of Gadsden, received 262 months in prison, along with five years of supervised release. Two other co-defendants have pending federal cases, according to the Justice Department.
“The presence of illegal drugs is a challenge faced by correctional systems across the country,” said Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner John Hamm in a statement on Thursday. “Criminals often go to significant lengths to bypass our security systems and seek to introduce drugs and other types of illegal contraband into our system. The ADOC is committed to enforcing our zero-tolerance policy on contraband and works very hard to eradicate it from our facilities, including referral for prosecution of those interdicted.”
Officials with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Alabama Department of Corrections began to suspect Graves was smuggling drugs into Staton Correctional Facility as early as 2019, at which time Graves was incarcerated at the Elmore County facility. An investigation revealed that non-incarcerated friends and family members, including Traylor, were assisting Graves in smuggling drugs into the state prison.
“The successful prosecution and sentencing of members of this drug trafficking organization should put on notice those who engage in this type of illegal activity,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Towanda Thorne-James in a statement on Thursday. “DEA will continue to collaborate with our state and local counterparts to ensure that those who attempt to flood the prison system with illicit substances face federal charges and a lengthy prison sentence.”