(Photo courtesy of Wabash Valley Correctional Facility)
An FBI roundup began Wednesday morning for 40 individuals, including 37-year-old Jon Dobbins of Dugger.
He's charged with possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II Non-Narcotic Controlled Substance.
Dobbins was employed as a correctional officer for 16 years. He was dismissed July 15 following his arrest on state charges for Possession of a Controlled Substance/Class B Felony, Trafficking, a Class C Felony, and three Class A Misdemeanors; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting Law Enforcement and Battery, according to Rich Larsen, public information officer at WVCF in Carlisle.
Court documents allege that Dobbins was found "in possession" of nearly 20.7 grams of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine, of which 13.1 grams was pure methamphetamine. The indictment also alleges that Dobbins had a cellphone that he intended to "clandestinely bring" into the prison and leave with an inmate.
Dobbins was the only prison guard named in the 27-page, 26-count indictment, though the document refers to multiple prison guards being involved.
Dobbins was taken into custody by federal agents Wednesday morning.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Tim Horty told the Greene County Daily World on Wednesday afternoon that prosecutors had no comment on the indictment.
The Indiana Department of Correction issued a statement saying it has been cooperating with the FBI since the investigation began and that that department uncovered the evidence that led to Dobbins' arrest.
"The IDOC has been energetically assisting and cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation since the onset of the investigation. In fact, IDOC investigators uncovered the evidence that identified and led directly to the state criminal charges against IDOC Correctional Officer Jon Dobbins, whose federal indictment was announced today (Wednesday)."
DOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon expressed outrage that any IDOC employees may have played a role in making drug trafficking possible in Indiana prisons.
"The actions of the small number of any IDOC correctional employees who may have facilitated these illegal activities brings dishonor to them and tarnishes the good name and professionalism of the vast majority of IDOC employees who are dedicated to making our prisons safe and upholding the rule of law," he stated.
At least 17 people appeared in court Wednesday in Indianapolis after about 300 FBI agents fanned out across the state and made arrests.
Prosecutors said the defendants were flight risks, and the judge ordered them to remain in custody.
Among the inmates charged is alleged ringleader Oscar Perez, who's serving time for murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors allege he coordinated drug sales on city streets and once conference called using smuggled cellphones with two other inmates, housed in different prisons, about "pooling their financial resources" to get a discount on heroin.
Perez and DOC inmate Justin Addler used cellular telephones to oversee and facilitate the acquisition of large amounts of methamphetamine from Jose Del Tora and other sources in California.
Once acquired, the meth was sent to Indiana by the U.S. Postal Service or by the use of couriers, according to court documents.
"It was also part of the conspiracy that corrections officers would smuggle in controlled substances and cellular telephones to inmates incarcerated in the Indiana Department of Corrections," the grand jury wrote in the indictment.
The activity occurred at the Westville Correction Facility in northern Indiana, the WVCF in southwestern Indiana, and the Pendleton Correctional Facility northeast of Indianapolis, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, between June 2011 and August, inmates coordinated buying meth, heroin, PCP and acid from California and Chicago and having it shipped to Indiana, where correction officers would smuggle some of the drugs and cellphones behind bars.
"Once acquired, the heroin was brought from Illinois to Indiana by the use of couriers where it was, in turn, distributed on the streets to various places" in central and southern Indiana, according to the indictment.
In the indictment, Dobbins and the other defendants were notified of the prosecution's intent to seek forfeiture of property that was derived from any proceeds directly or indirectly as the result of any of the criminal offenses, as part of any sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.