Ironton man admits FCI smuggling

Published 10:59 am Friday, January 24, 2014

An Ironton man and former corrections officer of the Federal Correctional Institution at Summit, Ky., admitted charges that he smuggled contraband into the prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky in Ashland.

James S. Lewis, 46, entered a guilty plea to conspiring to defraud the United States. A federal grand jury indictment filed in September stated Lewis was involved in smuggling marijuana, tobacco, cell phones and sexually explicit photographs into the prison.

The charge carries with it a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Lewis was also facing a charge of accepting bribes as a public official, but that was dismissed according to a plea agreement. That charge alone carried 15 years in prison.

Also relating to the case, Cindy Gates, 23, of Newport, Tenn., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to introduce tobacco into a federal prison.

Gates was the girlfriend of an inmate at the FCI, Gary Musick, 33, who allegedly orchestrated the scheme. Musick was additionally charged with possession of contraband in prison and conspiring to defraud the United States.

Gates’ plea deal states she could spend six months in prison and pay a $5,000 fine.

Both Lewis and Gates are expected to testify for the prosecution at Musick’s trial, which is scheduled for March 10 in Ashland.

Lewis and Gates are scheduled for sentencing on May 12, according to court records.

According to the eight-page indictment, from December 2010 until March 2012, Musick sold prohibited items, such as marijuana, tobacco, cell phones and sexually explicit photographs, to other inmates in exchange for stamps. If the inmates did not have the required currency, Musick directed them to send money to an outside address, the indictment stated.

The plan, according to the indictment, was mobilized by Musick from behind bars using four pre paid TracFones purchased by Lewis. Two of the phones were seized at the prison, the indictment stated. Others, named only as co-conspirators, helped Musick with the scheme, either by purchasing the prohibited items outside the prison, or by helping hide the items in the prison.

According to the indictment, Lewis, Gates and other unnamed co-conspirators, at the direction of Musick, would secure the prohibited items. Gates and others would allegedly meet with Lewis or leave the items for him. Lewis then allegedly brought the items into the prison.

In one instance, a co-conspirator left marijuana in an Ashland, Ky., motel room in Oct. 2011, which Lewis allegedly picked up, the indictment stated. In another instance, another co-conspirator mailed more than $7,000 to Gates at a Newport, Tenn., post office address.