Inmate pleads guilty to conspiracy to smuggle drugs, contraband into Taft Correctional Facility

Gerardo Alvarez-Montanez, 32, an inmate at the Taft Federal Correctional Facility, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to provide and possess contraband in prison, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, between November 2013 and February 27, 2014, Alvarez-Montanez recruited and conspired with a correctional officer to smuggle cellphones, cash, alcohol, heroin and methamphetamine into the prison in return for the payment of cash.

Correctional officer Ramon Cano, 27, of Bakersfield was charged with acceptance of a bribe by a federal official and possession with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine. At a status conference for Cano on Monday, a change of plea hearing was scheduled for July 28, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

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.

Alvarez-Montanez is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii on September 15, 2014. Alvarez-Montanez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

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