6 arrested in drug, gang operations in AL prisons - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

6 arrested in drug, gang operations in AL prisons

The U.S. Attorney's office announces arrests Thursday. The U.S. Attorney's office announces arrests Thursday.

Six people, including a corrections officer and inmates, are under arrest in connection to a drug distribution operation within the Alabama prison system, according to U.S. Attorney George Beck, Jr.'s office.

Beck's office said Thursday that a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Alabama Department of Corrections led to the dismantling of the operation and the arrests.

A federal grand jury in Montgomery indicted Stephanie Auban, 41, of Cullman; Phillip Burgin, 23, of Montgomery, who was a corrections officer at Kilby State Prison in Montgomery; William Thomas Crane II, 36, of Crossville; and Alberto Trejo, an inmate currently serving time in the Bullock County Correctional Facility in Union Springs for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

A federal grand jury in Birmingham indicted Miguel Calles-Gutierrez, 42, of Birmingham, and Gumaro Calles, 24, currently serving time in Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore for distribution of methamphetamine. Along with the arrests, law enforcement searched the two prisoners' personal areas, one in Bullock County Correctional Facility and one in Staton Correctional Facility.

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.

"Drug dealers spread poison for profit," U.S. Attorney Beck said. "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.

"Some of these defendants worked from prison to distribute a harmful and illegal substance in the Northern District of Alabama," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Joyce White 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."

The investigation included multiple state corrections facilities, and Beck's office said it would not have been possible "without the extraordinary assistance of Commissioner Kim Thomas and his staff at the Department of Corrections."

Speaking about the arrest of one of his officers, Thomas explained, "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.

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