Former Minn. corrections officer, inmate plead guilty to distributing meth inside prison grounds
The inmate obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from suppliers outside the prison and the CO would arrange meet-up times to pick up the drugs, documents state
By Mary Divine
STILLWATER, Minn. — A prison inmate has pleaded guilty to conspiring with a corrections officer at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater to distribute methamphetamine inside prison grounds.
Axel Rene Kramer, 36, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul before Judge Eric Tostrud to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
According to court documents, Kramer, who is serving a 288-month sentence for second-degree murder, conspired with Faith Rose Gratz, 26, a former Stillwater corrections officer, to distribute methamphetamine within the prison. He allegedly obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from suppliers outside the prison, court documents state.
After Kramer and another inmate worked with the drug suppliers to arrange meet-up times and locations, Gratz would pick up the drug packages, officials said. Gratz allegedly used her position as a prison guard to smuggle the drugs into the facility and pass them to Kramer, who distributed the drugs to fellow inmates. The pair, who had a romantic relationship, made six such exchanges, officials said.
Gratz also allegedly smuggled into the prison multiple cell phones that she provided to Kramer; Kramer used the cell phones to communicate with people inside and outside the prison and to facilitate his drug distribution network from within the prison, according to court documents.
Law enforcement officials discovered the conspiracy when they searched Kramer’s cellphone. They also discovered a half-pound of meth in Gratz’s car after confronting her about the conspiracy.
According to court documents, Kramer and Gratz exchanged hundreds of text messages with each other. The messages included communications about the drug distribution conspiracy as well as discussions about their romantic relationship. Gratz also warned Kramer about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells.
Gratz pleaded guilty in September. A sentencing hearing for Kramer, who is now incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, will be scheduled at a later time.