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Prison contraband scheme ends with fresh conviction

SoVaNow.com / November 24, 2021
A four-year scheme to sneak drugs, cigarettes, and cellphones to inmates at a Petersburg federal penitentiary ended Friday when a Baltimore woman — the mother of the operation’s mastermind — was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for her role in the enterprise.

According to a statement from Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Kim Williams, 57, facilitated nearly $50,000 in bribe payments consisting of both wire transfers and cash payments to two former Bureau of Prisons (BOP) correctional officers, Shanice Bullock, 28, of South Hill and Stephen Taylor of Wake Forest, N.C. The payments took place over a four-year period, from 2015 to 2019.

In return, Taylor and Bullock permitted the introduction and distribution of contraband items into FCI Petersburg, including heroin, marijuana and Suboxone, as well as cigarettes and cell phones.

Williams’ son, Dontay Cox, 38, of Baltimore, Md., was an inmate at the Petersburg federal prison from January 2014 to July 2019. While there, he ran a gambling ring inside the prison and also distributed the contraband to fellow inmates.

Williams will spend the next 45 months in prison.

In September, Bullock was sentenced to 10 months in prison for her part in the scheme, which involved soliciting and accepting bribes. Her co-conspirator, Stephen Taylor, received a four-year sentence for also soliciting and accepting bribes.

Records collected by the U.S. Department of Justice showed Bullock and Taylor collected $46,841 in bribe payments over the course of the conspiracy. These came in the form of wire transfers from Walmart-2-Walmart and cash payments from inmate Dontay Cox, 37, his mother, Kim Williams, and girlfriend, Rameesha Smith. The payments were made to Bullock and Taylor to facilitate the introduction of the controlled substances, cigarettes, and cell phones into the prison.

Inside the prison Cox worked alongside other inmates at FCI Petersburg, including fellow FCI Petersburg inmate Travian Taylor, 29 (no relation to Stephen Taylor) to run his contraband scheme.

Cox’s mother, Kim Williams, received $137,855.29, including $94,961.39 in untraceable cash deposits over the course of the conspiracy.

The scheme was uncovered in 2019 when Taylor was transferred to a prison in North Carolina and Cox was caught attempting to bribe a different correctional officer, promising to triple the guard’s salary.

At September sentencing of Bullock and Taylor, then-Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Raj Parekh, said, “Taylor and Bullock blatantly abused their positions of authority as federal correctional officers to enrich themselves at the expense of the public, the safety of the prison they were responsible for protecting, and the dedicated Bureau of Prison employees with whom they served.

“Instead of ensuring that the inmates of the prison served their sentences in a safe and lawful manner, these defendants violated their oaths as sworn officers and joined a criminal enterprise that was driven by their greed. As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not tolerate any criminal acts that are designed to corrupt or undermine the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

The Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office said the office is “committed to working with our partners to preserve the integrity of the system and ensure faith is not lost for those respecting it.”

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