Inmates Prosecuted For Separate Assaults

Inmates prosecuted for separate assaults on prison correctional officers

Additional charges for prison contraband

BRUNSWICK, GA (STL.News) Three inmates are under prosecution in separate cases in the Southern District for assaults on federal correctional officers, while a correctional officer has been sentenced for bringing contraband into a facility.

Juan Alvardo-Baltazar, 27, an inmate at McRae Correctional Facility in McRae, Ga.; Luis Cedillo-Narvaez, 53, also an inmate at McRae; and Melvin Johnson, 36, an inmate at Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Ga., all have been charged with Assault on a Certain Officer or Employee, and Johnson also is charged with Possession of Contraband In Prison, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.  The assault charge carries a possible statutory penalty of up to eight years in prison, while the contraband charge carries a statutory penalty of up to one year in prison.  There is no parole in the federal system.

“Correctional officers have a challenging job under the best circumstances, much of which involves protecting the safety of inmates under their supervision,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes.  “We will consistently work to hold accountable inmates who would violate the law by attacking prison guards.”

Details of the charges against the defendants include:

Alvardo-Baltazar, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, was sentenced to 12 additional months in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting an assistant shift supervisor July 5, 2021, at McRae, a privately operated prison in Telfair County. Prior to his additional sentence, Alvardo-Baltazar was serving a 48-month sentence at McRae for Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine.

Cedillo-Narvaez, a citizen of Mexico illegally present in the United States, is charged with assaulting the chief of Unit Management at McRae on Dec. 7, 2020 and is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.  Cedillo-Narvaez is serving a 180-month sentence for Conspiracy to Commit Hostage Taking.

Johnson was indicted during the November term of the U.S. District Court Grand Jury in the Southern District, and is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.  He is accused of striking a unit officer during a search of his cell, during which officers found a contraband cell phone.  Johnson is serving a 180-month sentence for Conspiracy to Distribute One Kilogram or More of Heroin.

In addition, former McRae correctional officer Brianna Williams, 23, of Eastman, Ga., was sentenced to six months in prison followed by one year of supervised release and fined $1,000 after pleading guilty to Providing Contraband in Prison. She was charged in November 2020 after attempting to smuggle cell phone batteries into the facility.

“The FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who uses violence against law enforcement officers,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta.  “We will always go the extra mile to hold criminals accountable for their actions and will not hesitate to prosecute and tack on additional time to those criminals who continue to break the law.”

The cases are investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Special Investigative Services and the FBI, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Bearden.

SOURCE: USDOJ.Today