By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
A former corrections officer trainee at Fountain Correctional Facility, arrested early last year for attempting to smuggle drugs, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, electronics and weapons into the state penitentiary near Atmore, has been sentenced to serve more than 11 years in federal prison.
According to a press release issued late last week by U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama, 40-year-old Tarrence Dramon Tolbert of Brewton was sentenced June 29 to serve 135 months for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Tolbert entered a guilty plea to the single charge in federal court in Mobile earlier this year.
Tolbert’s career at Fountain — and his smuggling operation — ended on February 24, 2020, when a supervisor spotted the trainee’s car on the side of the road, near the facility, at about 8:30 p.m. Court documents show that the supervisor stopped and asked Tolbert if he needed help, and Tolbert told him he was waiting on a relative.
The supervisor became suspicious and left instructions with Fountain security to have Tolbert and his belongings searched when he arrived for his shift. That search yielded unspecified quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana, as well as earbuds, a SIM card, cigars, two bottles of liquor and two knives.
Tolbert reportedly admitted that his intention was to smuggle the contraband into the prison and deliver it to certain, unidentified inmates. Three other individuals, none of whose names have been released, were also arrested in connection with the scheme.
U.S. District Court Judge William H. Steele imposed the sentence, which also includes five years of supervised release after Tolbert is freed from custody.
Tolbert was not fined but was required to pay a mandatory special assessment of $100.