Prison guard, 2 inmates, 3 others face charges in Kansas prison contraband scheme

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The U.S. Attorney in the District of Kansas announced on Monday federal charges against a guard, two inmates and three others accused of smuggling methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana and alcohol and cigarettes into the Leavenworth Detention Center, operated by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

The criminal complaint filed Sunday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges the conspirators built an elaborate system for getting contraband into the prison and moving money from inmates behind bars to a man outside the prison who obtained the contraband that he gave to the guard to smuggle into the prison.

Barry Grissom, U.S. Attorney says, 'outside the prison, inmates' friends and family members participated by helping to move money from buyers to sellers by wire transfers and other means."

The following people face federal charges:

Anthon Aiono, 28, Platte City
(correctional officer at Corrections Corporation of America)

Stephen Rowlette, 35, inmate

Karl Carter, 41, inmate

David Bishop, 68, Sedalia

Alicia Tackett, 29, Independence, Mo.
(Stephen Rowlett'es wife)

Catherine Rowlette, 59, Sedalia, Mo.
(Stephen Rowlette's mother)

According to Grissom, federal investigators opened the investigation after learning that drugs and other contraband were regularly entering the facility. Grissom says inmates took deliveries of contraband during 12-step program meetings, in the law library and during church services.

The case against the six defendants includes phone conversations from the prison, in which they allegedly orchestrate paying for the contraband and how and where to obtain it.

"Inmates devised a scheme for disguising money arriving in incoming mail by using large manila envelopes with the names of law firms and concealing the money beneath a letter-sized white envelope affixed to the front of the envelope," Grissom wrote in his news release.

Aiono and Bishop and Catherine Rowlette face one count each of conspiracy to distribute meth, providing meth to inmates, providing synthetic marijuana to inmates, and proving tobacco products to inmates.

Inmate Stephen Rowlette faces charges of conspiracy to distribute meth, possessing meth, synthetic marijuana and tobacco products.

Inmate Karl Carter is charged with  conspiracy to distribute meth, possessing meth, synthetic marijuana and tobacco products.

Alicia Tackett faces charges of providing synthetic marijuana and providing tobacco products.

The penalty for conviction of conspiracy to distribute meth is a maximum of 20 years in prison.  The penalty for providing or possessing meth in prison is a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Possessing and providing synthetic marijuana, tobacco products in prison: A maximum of six months in prison.

CCA is a private company that contracts with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service.