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USP McCreary inmate pleads in smuggling case

An inmate at USP McCreary agreed to enter a guilty plea in U.S. District Court last week on a charge of Aiding and Abetting in the possession of a Prohibited Object.

Chase Downey was federally indicted, along with two co-defendants last June after prison officials discovered a plot to smuggle drugs into the penitentiary.

According to the court documents, Downey and Tabarus Holland were housed in the Pine Knot facility on August 3, 2013 when they conspired to use visitation privileges to bring methamphetamine into the prison.

On that date the two inmates received visitors at the prison. One of the visitors, Pamela Michelle Bennett, purchased a tray of chicken wings and concealed balloons containing drugs in the food. She gave the tray to Holland, who then signaled Downey and switched the treys.

Downey ate the food, including the balloons, but was apprehended and placed under constant surveillance until the balloons were passed. Holland and Bennett were also placed under arrest at that time.

Bennett stated Holland had set up the transfer and her cost to visit the facility from Virginia was funded by another inmate. Downey acknowledged he had been recruited by Holland to “catch” the drugs in exchange for money.

Downey agreed to enter a guilty plea on the charges and was sentenced to serve 38 months, consecutive to the current term he is serving, which is scheduled to end in 2020.

Holland, considered to be the leader of the conspiracy, entered a guilty plea in February, agreeing to a 63 month addition to his sentence, which was originally scheduled for release in 2022.

Bennett also pled, receiving 36 months in jail for her role in the operation.


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