An inmate in a Georgia Department of Corrections facility has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine while in prison.
The announcement came from the U.S. Attorney’s Office last week.
33-year-old Frankie Baza of Flowery Branch, Georgia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice:
Law enforcement officers in Athens-Clarke County developed a Cooperating Source (CS) in January 2019 that explained Baza was its source of meth since 2018. Baza was an inmate in the Georgia Department of Corrections who used contraband cell phones to connect customers with his associates to distribute methamphetamine.
On January 10, 2019, the CS placed a call to Baza and ordered a large amount of methamphetamine. Baza directed the CS to a Homewood Suites in Metro Atlanta to meet Baza’s associate, who would conduct the drug transaction as directed by Baza. Under surveillance, agents observed Baza’s associate walk to the parking lot carrying a bag to meet the CS as planned.
The associate was taken into custody and a legal search of the motel room resulted in the seizure of a large amount of methamphetamine, more than two ounces of heroin, a cell phone and a shotgun. The associate admitted to renting the room and distributing the methamphetamine and heroin. Baza now admits he conspired to direct the distribution of one kilogram of methamphetamine mixture.
Baza faces up to 20 years in prison, four years of supervised release, and upwards of $1,000,000 in fines when he is sentenced in May.
“Prisoners using contraband cell phones to direct criminal activities from behind bars will face severe consequences in the federal system, where there is no parole,” Acting U.S. Attorney Leary said in a news release. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those inmates who brazenly disregard the law, putting both our communities and the prison community where they are housed in danger.”
The case was investigated by the DEA and the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Tamara Jarrett is prosecuting the case for the Government.