Inmate Pleads Guilty to Possessing Contraband

Paul Girard, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of prison contraband, U.S. Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced Wednesday.

Sharpe was joined in the announcement by Drug Enforcement Administration special agent-in-charge Vito S. Guarino.

It was the third case announced in two days in which Golden Grove inmates were convicted or sentenced for contraband charges.

According to Wednesday’s news release, Girard pleaded guilty Friday to four counts, including two counts to possessing cell phones and chargers; one count of possessing a knife; and one of possessing a shank, or homemade knife.

According to the plea agreement, V.I. Bureau of Corrections officials on Nov. 16, 2012, searched a cell occupied by Girard and another inmate and seized two cell phones and 24 "dime" bags of marijuana.

Text messages from one of the cell phones contained Girard’s nickname and phone number. On Jan. 16, 2013, Corrections officials searched another cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a knife, a cell phone and 34 "dime" bags of marijuana from the cell.

The phone contained several photos of Girard, officials said.

On June 18, 2013, officials searched a third cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a cell phone and another bag of marijuana. The seized phone contained several photos of Girard.

On April 7, pursuant to a federal search warrant, federal agents searched a fourth cell occupied solely by Girard and seized a homemade weapon commonly referred to as a shank, an iPad and marijuana. The iPad contained a video depicting Girard and others in a Golden Grove prison cell.

While cell phones appear harmless, in prison they pose a real danger, Sharpe said in the news release. They can be used to conduct drug transactions both in and out of the prison. They can also be used to arrange "hits" on unsuspecting targets including other inmates and persons in the community, Sharpe said.

Girard faces a maximum sentence of one year incarceration and a fine of $100,000 on the cell phone counts and a maximum sentence of five years incarceration and a fine of $250,000 on the knife and shank counts. Sentencing has been set for May 13.

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