A guard at the federal prison in Greenville, caught with contraband Classic cigarettes in his pants, pleaded guilty Thursday to five federal charges, admitting he took thousands of dollars of bribes for smuggling. Just days after Dreaux Michael Perkins started working at the prison in October 2009, he had a conversation with an inmate about his finances.
That chat led to a deal, in which Perkins took cash to smuggle contraband cigarettes to the inmate, Khalat J. Alama, who then resold them for a profit to fellow inmates, Perkins’ plea agreement says.
One of Alama’s relatives wired $600 to Perkins, who lives in Greenville, at a grocery there on June 4, 2010, as payment, his plea says.
On May 12, 2011, Perkins met a woman identified only as “Liz” at a St. Louis restaurant, accepting $2,000 in cash and multiple packs of cigarettes. He then went straight to the Argosy Casino in Alton and gambled away all his bribe money, his plea says.
Perkins was caught with 60 cigarettes in two plastic bags when federal agents searched him at the prison two days later. One was hidden in his underwear; the other in a pocket.
Officials said Perkins lied twice to an FBI agent investigating the case: once, before he was searched, when he denied having any contraband, and again when he denied accepting the $2,000 bribe money.
Perkins pleaded guilty in federal court in East St. Louis of one count of bribery, two counts of honest services wire fraud and two counts of lying to the FBI.
At sentencing Dec. 22, the Army veteran could face 18 to 37 months in prison under federal guidelines, as well as a fine of $4,000 to $60,000.
A Bureau of Prison official said that while Perkins is still employed, it would not be unusual for someone in this situation to be placed on leave and dealt with administratively after the criminal case is resolved.
Alama, 26, has pleaded not guilty. He is serving a sentence of more than 15 years on a drug conspiracy charge and has been moved from the Greenville prison. His lawyer, Robert Herman, declined to comment on the case Thursday.