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Former guard sentenced for trying to bring drugs into prison

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A former Alabama Department of Corrections guard was sentenced to more than seven years behind bars for distributing methamphetamine in the state prison where he worked.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre sentenced Gary Charles Dixon, Jr., 36, on Wednesday to 87 months in prison on one count of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Dixon pleaded guilty to the charges in July.

“Smuggling contraband into our state prisons compromises the safety of everyone in the facility,” U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona said in a news release.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Dixon in 2020 attempted to smuggle 497 grams of methamphetamine into William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer where he was employed as a corrections officer.

The Department of Justice last year sued Alabama, saying the state prisons for men are “riddled with prisoner-on-prisoner and guard-on-prisoner violence.”

The Justice Department in 2019 cited illicit drugs as one of the contributing factors to the overall unconstitutional conditions along with understaffing, culture, management deficiencies, corruption and other problems.

The state has acknowledged problems in state prisons but has disputed the Justice Department’s allegations.

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