Judge sentences 13 of 40 involved in prison drug ring

Trial for remaining defendants likely delayed

INDIANAPOLIS - Sentences were handed down Monday for some of the 40 people involved in a prison drug ring that was dealing in and out of three Indiana correctional facilities.

Officials said that criminal operations inside prisons aren’t shocking, but this case was sophisticated and it involved help from a prison guard.

Prosecutors said the drug ring was run by two inmates, Oscar Perez and Justin Addler, and both were housed in different Indiana prisons.

Using cellphones, the men carried out the operation that ran meth, heroin, PCP and LSD from California to Indiana cities and towns.

"You have an incarcerated prisoner masterminding a drug-trafficking organization from within a prison cell using a cell," Attorney General Southern District of Indiana Joe Hogsett said.

The FBI broke up the criminal enterprise in an investigation called "Operation Lockdown."

Federal prosecutors announced the convictions and sentencing of 13 out of 40 people indicted. The federal prison sentences averaged a decade.

With the help of correction officers, the inmates would also smuggle drugs, cellphones and other banned items to other inmates in Indiana prisons, federal officials said.

One correction officer was arrested, but prosecutors would not comment on whether others were involved or if similar drug rings are still operating in the state’s prison system.

State correction officials declined to comment on Monday’s sentences, but did talk about the arrests in August of last year.

"We feel disappointed, outraged and dismayed when something like this happens,"  said Doug Garrison with the Indiana Department of Correction.

The remaining defendants were scheduled for trial next month, but prosecutors said that will likely be delayed.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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