APR 10 (MONTGOMERY, Ala.) – A drug distribution operation that involved inmates and a correction officer has been dismantled and six people have been arrested due to the joint efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alabama Department of Corrections, announced Keith Brown, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division; George L. Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama; and Joyce White Vance, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. This investigation included multiple State of Alabama correctional facilities and would not have been possible without the extraordinary assistance of Commissioner Kim Thomas and his staff at the Department of Corrections.
A federal grand jury in Montgomery, Alabama returned an indictment against Stephanie Auban, 41 years old, of Cullman; Phillip Burgin, 23 years old, of Montgomery; William Thomas Crane II, 36 years old, of Crossville; and Alberto Trejo who is presently incarcerated in Bullock County Correctional Facility in Union Springs, Alabama for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Phillip Burgin was a correction officer at Kilby State Prison in Montgomery.
A federal grand jury in Birmingham, Alabama returned an indictment against Miguel Calles-Gutierrez, 42 years old, of Birmingham, and Gumaro Calles, 24 years old, presently in Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama for distribution of methamphetamine. Along with the arrests, law enforcement searched the two prisoner’s personal areas, one in Bullock County Correctional Facility and one in Staton Correctional Facility.
“Due to the combined efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Alabama Department of Corrections (DOC), a large-scale drug trafficking organization was identified, investigated and ultimately dismantled,” stated Clay Morris, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Birmingham, Alabama. “Without the invaluable assistance from the Alabama Department of Corrections, the success of this investigation would not have been possible. The partnership between DEA and AL DOC was critical in keeping substantial amounts of methamphetamine from being distributed in our communities. I can’t thank Commissioner Thomas and Alabama DOC enough for their assistance.”
“Drug dealers spread poison for profit,” stated U.S. Attorney Beck. “They addict children for profit, they destroy families for profit, and they infect communities for profit. There are countless victims of drug dealing. We need to remember and attempt to help these victims and need to continue to do all that is possible under the law to punish these poison pushers. I want to thank Kim Thomas and his staff for their unwavering commitment to stopping these criminals from dealing drugs from inside our state prisons.”
“Some of these defendants worked from prison to distribute a harmful and illegal substance in the Northern District of Alabama," stated U.S. Attorney Vance. "Methamphetamine dealers need to know they will be tracked — wherever they are — and prosecuted. The State Department of Corrections and the DEA are to be commended for working collaboratively to bring about these arrests."
“Drug trafficking and dealing are dangerous to society, and that type of behavior will not be tolerated by the Department of Corrections,” Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas said. “We have joined forces with our federal law enforcement community to make our streets and our prisons safer. The illegal activity of one correction officer is not a representation of the hard work of the almost 3,000 correctional staff working in our facilities. We will not allow these illegal acts to tarnish the professional reputation of the hard working correctional professionals at the Department of Corrections. It is our responsibility to act, and these arrests are proof of our action with our federal partners to stop illegal activity in prison and protect the public safety. The Department of Corrections will continue to partner with law enforcement across this state to aggressively target criminal activity and stop the network of drug distribution activity from inside our prisons and that harm our communities.”
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted Ausban, Burgin, Crane, Miller and Trejo face a sentence of at least 10 years in prison and a maximum prison term of life. Patricia Calles, Miguel Calles-Gutierrez and Gumaro Calles face a sentence of no more than 20 years in prison. In the federal system, there is no parole.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the State of Alabama Department of Corrections. This case is being prosecuted by Curtis Ivy, Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Middle District of Alabama and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Alabama.