Former Anamosa prison guards face charges - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Former Anamosa prison guards face charges

Posted: Updated:
ANAMOSA (KWWL) -

Two former guards at the Anamosa State Penitentiary face federal charges while two others face state charges after an investigation into drug possession and cell phone smuggling.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Iowa says Garret Barton and Ethan Darrow, both 29-years-old and from Anamosa, face federal charges. Barton is charged with one count of being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms and one count Hobbs Act extortion which is taking money to smuggle cell phones into prison for prisoner use. Darrow is charged with one count of being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms.

Two other former guards, 38-year-old Marques Maryland from Cedar Rapids and 28-year-old Seth Vogel from Marion agreed to plead to state charges of possessing controlled substances.

Another man, 29-year-old Samuel Foster from North Liberty, is charged with being an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm. Foster was not employed by the penitentiary.

Court documents show Barton used his position as a guard to smuggle cell phones into the prison in 2014 in exchange for money. Cell phones are considered contraband and prisoners are prohibited from having them.

Investigators also say that Barton, Darrow, Maryland and Vogel used drugs while on duty as tower guards and possessing AR-15 assault rifles. They also say Barton, Darrow and Vogel traded drugs.

Foster is accused of being Barton's source of drugs.

The criminal complaint filed against Foster says North Liberty officers found 530 grams of marijuana, 156 hydromorphone pills, drug paraphernalia and a stolen .32 caliber revolver while executing search warrants at his home and a storage locker located in North Liberty. The complaint goes on to say 123 grams of marijuana and a stolen .22 caliber rifle were found in Foster's storage garage in Cedar Rapids.

The complaint says Foster admitted to using marijuana and selling for between $3,200 and $3,300 per pound. It also says Foster traded text messages with Barton in regards to selling marijuana to Barton and Maryland.

Barton is scheduled to plead guilty to his charges on October 13. He faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Darrow pleaded guilty on Monday. A sentencing date has not been set. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is free on the conditions set by the court.

Maryland and Vogel will enter guilty pleas in Jones County District Court. Each faces up to six-months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Foster appeared in federal court on Monday and is being detained pending his case going to the grand jury. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

“Prison safety depends on prison personnel acting with honesty and integrity… smuggling drugs and other contraband to inmates undermine that safety and make an inherently dangerous environment more dangerous,” United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa Kevin W. Techau said in a written statement.

Powered by Frankly