Correctional officer, inmate indicted for conspiracy to smuggle heroin and meth into Taft prison

FRESNO, Calif. - A Taft correctional officer is facing charges in a drug investigation at Taft Correctional Facility.

A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment today against Ramon Cano, 28, a resident of Bakersfield, and Gerardo Alvarez-Montanez, 32, an inmate at the Taft Federal Correctional Facility, charging them with conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison and with various substantive counts, including distribution and attempted distribution of a controlled substance and bribery of a public official. United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. 

According to court documents, Cano a full time contract correctional officer employed at the Taft Federal Correctional Facility, was involved in smuggling heroin, methamphetamine and other items of contraband including cash and cell phones to Alvarez-Montanez in return for payments of cash.

According to the criminal complaint, on February 27, 2014, Cano met with an undercover agent in Bakersfield who provided Cano with $4,000 and an ounce of methamphetamine and an ounce of heroin that Cano agreed to smuggle into the federal prison. After the transaction, Cano was arrested as he walked back to his vehicle.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of the Inspector General U.S. Department of Justice. Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Delaney is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Cano and Alvarez face a maximum statutory penalty of forty years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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