Corrections officer is 1 of 8 facing drug charges

Posted: Sunday, August 01, 2010

ANCHORAGE - A state corrections officer was one of eight people indicted on federal drug charges in connection with a smuggling ring that brought cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs into the Anchorage jail.

Authorities said they're not sure how long Patrick Sherman and others indicted in the case have been smuggling drugs into the jail, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Russo said the investigation has been going on for about two years.

Sherman, 46, started with the Department of Corrections in September 2003 and left the job in February 2009, a state official told the Anchorage Daily News.

The person authorities claim was Sherman's drug source, Brandy Leanne Barnes, 26, was also indicted on drug conspiracy charges following the investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Alaska State Troopers, Russo said.

"They were delivering to him drugs, and those drugs were being distributed in the jail," Russo said. "He received the prepackaged controlled substances from Barnes herself and others, and then he delivered drugs to someone who was an inmate. That inmate then resold them inside the jail."

Sherman was released from custody Thursday on $10,000 unsecured bond, court records said. His lawyer did not return a call seeking comment.

The drug-smuggling group imported and sold more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine, more than 50 grams (1 3/4 ounces) of methamphetamine and more than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin and Oxycodone, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said conspirators smuggled the drugs in blue Coleman coolers they had altered to accommodate drugs hidden in the walls.

"It was fairly sophisticated," Russo said. "You have to destroy two coolers to make one."

The others indicted were Daniel Isaac Meza, 35; Edwin Giovanni Enriquez, 32; Billy Walter Fuller, 40; Cori Jean Hillar, 38; Michael George Raab, 44; and Debbie Beisinaiz, 41.

All were charged with the drug conspiracy. Meza and Raab also were charged with multiple counts of international money laundering relating to drug trafficking for allegedly sending the proceeds to Mexico, Columbia and El Salvador in an attempt to conceal the source of the money, according to the Internal Revenue Service, which helped in the investigation.

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