By John Ingold | The Denver Post
Matthew Amos has wide, boxcar shoulders and steam-engine arms. On Friday he stood before a federal judge in Denver pleading for his life.
If he went to prison, Amos told the judge, he would have to pay fellow inmates for protection. Or he would be “whored out.” Or worse…
“There's no way I would be able to stay out on that yard without providing some kind of service,” Amos said, voice unsteady. “To be asked to go into that system will be asking me to be something I don't want to be.”
This is where $17,200 in easy money landed him.
Amos' conviction for smuggling tobacco into a federal prison in Florence provides a revealing glimpse into the jailhouse black market — where a single bag of tobacco can go for $1,000 and the key players in funneling contraband to inmates are often the very people hired to watch over them…
Tobacco, which was banned in nearly all federal prisons in 2004, has fueled a lucrative, illicit prison economy that proves irresistible to some prison workers. But employees have also been involved in smuggling cellphones, drugs and other items into inmates…
Amos would sneak in bags of tobacco to give to the inmate, who would handle distribution to customers around the prison, according to a recounting of the case in Amos' plea agreement. The inmate's girlfriend would collect money from the customers' families and then put a chunk of it into a bank account for Amos. Amos was sent a debit card tied to that account, according to the plea agreement. His take was $400 per bag.
Between May and November 2007, Amos withdrew $17,200 from the bank account, according to the court document. A January 2008 tip from Amos' inmate accomplice proved his undoing.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge John Kane took sympathy on Amos, saying he wanted Amos — a military veteran who served in Bosnia — to receive treatment and education instead of prison. He gave Amos five years of probation…(Full text at Denver Post)
Take heart dirty BOP Officers nationwide: You can traffic in contraband, get caught and convicted and NOT go to prison! Now that tobacco and cellphone concession of yours is a bit less risky.
The lesson to be learned from the Amos case: Pick an inmate you can trust. After all, Amos would be in business today if his inmate-partner hadn't given him up.
Who'd have thought an inmate would do such a thing?