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Thursday, June 22, 2006

A rap song come to life

Mike Ewen/Tallahassee Democrat, via Associated Press
F.B.I. agents and other law officers descended
on a federal women's prison in Tallahassee, Fla.,
Wednesday after a morning gun battle there.

U.S. Agent Dies in Shootout With Prison Guard

Published: June 22, 2006

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 21 — A federal agent was killed and a prison officer wounded Wednesday in a shootout with a guard at a federal prison here. The guard, who was about to be arrested in connection with a sex ring, also died in the gun battle.

The guard, Ralph Hill, was one of six who were indicted Tuesday, accused of giving contraband to female inmates at the Federal Correctional Institution in exchange for sex and money. The low-security prison houses about 1,400 women on the eastern edge of Tallahassee.

Agents from the Justice Department inspector general's office were serving warrants on the guards just after 7:30 a.m. when Mr. Hill pulled out his personal gun and began firing just outside the main entrance of a smaller detention center next to the prison, according to the Justice Department. He killed Special Agent William Sentner, 44, and seriously injured a lieutenant at the prison who was helping with the arrests.

Mr. Sentner is the first special agent from the Justice Department inspector general's office to be killed or wounded in the line of duty, a spokeswoman for the office, Cynthia Schnedar, said. The office has about 120 special agents with the same arrest powers as F.B.I. agents and other federal investigators.

On Tuesday, a Federal District Court grand jury in Tallahassee indicted the six guards on charges of conspiracy to commit acts of bribery, witness tampering, mail fraud and interstate transportation in aid of racketeering. The charges, a result of a joint investigation by the inspector general's office, the F.B.I. and the federal Bureau of Prisons, carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison.

The indictment said that starting in 2003, five of the six guards — Mr. Hill, Alfred Barnes, Gregory Dixon, Alan Moore and E. Lavon Spence — traded contraband for sex with at least 10 inmates. At other times, it said, they sold contraband to inmates or used it to bribe them to keep silent.

Federal officials would not say what kind of contraband was involved, but the indictment suggested it could have included alcohol, drugs, food or anything else not available at the prison commissary.

To further keep the inmates from telling anyone, the guards also monitored their phone calls and threatened to have them sent to other prisons farther from their families, according to the indictment.

The sixth guard, Vincent Johnson, is said to have conveyed messages between inmates and one of the other five guards, and showed inmates the Bureau of Prisons computer system, presumably as a threat that they could be tracked once they were released.

Michael Folmar, the special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Jacksonville, said the guards had been unaware of the indictments and had no advance warning of the arrests.

So who plays the head corrupt guard, Delroy Lindo or Sam Jackson?

posted by Steve @ 12:45:00 AM

12:45:00 AM

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