RALEIGH, NC Feb 2 2017
A former North Carolina correctional officer was sentenced to five years behind bars after officials say he smuggled banned items to prisoners in a high security section of the prison.
Gregory Dustin Gouldman, 31, who worked as a guard at Polk Correctional Institution Butner, was indicted in Aug. 2015 with one count of extortion under color of official right.
Authorities said that Gouldman smuggled various items – including cellphones – to prisoners in the high security maximum control unit. Gouldman was given cash in exchange for allowing the items inside, officials said.
The investigation into Gouldman came in the wake of the 2014 kidnapping of the father of an assistant district attorney in Wake County.
Investigators say Kelvin Melton, who is serving a life sentence, orchestrated a kidnapping and attempted murder from his jail cell at the Polk Correctional Institution using a smuggled cellphone.
Gouldman was employed as a correctional officer at Polk from 2005 through May of 2015.
From 2012, through September of 2014, Gouldman was a sergeant and worked as a supervisor in Polk’s “high security maximum control unit.” That unit was opened in 1998 to serve as North Carolina’s supermax prison for “the state’s most violent and assaultive offenders.”
The indictment alleged that Gouldman engaged in a scheme with a number of prisoners held in the high security maximum control unit under which he smuggled tobacco, marijuana, cellular telephones, and packages of AA batteries (often used to make a device for charging the cellular telephones) to inmates in exchange for cash, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
The cellular telephones were then used by the inmates to communicate with people outside of prison.
“It is further alleged that, after being transferred out of the high security maximum control unit in September of 2014, Gouldman continued to smuggle contraband into Polk for at least one additional inmate,” the press release said.
In addition to five years in prison, Gouldman will be on supervised release for three more years.
“These men put many lives at risk for their own profit. They were entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that North Carolina’s convicted criminals serve their sentences,” said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI.