Former inmate gets 3 years for plot to smuggle pot into Cook County Jail

SHARE Former inmate gets 3 years for plot to smuggle pot into Cook County Jail
gavel3_e1537376471422.jpg

Sun-Times file photo

A former Cook County Jail inmate was sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to smuggle pot hidden in sandwiches into the jail.

Lavangelist Powell was sentenced to 36 months in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on Tuesday, according to FBI spokesman Garrett Croon. Powell had pleaded guilty on Dec. 22, 2016, to a count of conspiracy to commit extortion.

Powell, 26, is currently incarcerated at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to BOP records.

In June 2013, Powell and two other inmates, Prince Johnson and Thadieus Goods, conspired with Johnson’s girlfriend, 43-year-old Stephanie Lewis, a Chicago Police dispatcher, to bribe a corrections officer to bring marijuana, cigarettes, tobacco, alcohol, food and other contraband into the jail for inmates, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Lewis admitted using her position as a dispatch supervisor in the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications to access police databases to find personal information for a correctional officer at the jail, 32-year-old Jason Marek, according to prosecutors.

The information was passed along to Johnson and an inmate being held at the jail, who used it to threaten Marek with physical harm unless he continued to help smuggle contraband into the facility, prosecutors said.

The scheme came to light after nearly three ounces of marijuana was found hidden inside two sandwiches that Marek tried to smuggle into the jail in 2013 in exchange for a $200 bribe, prosecutors said. An ounce of marijuana, which sells for about $200 outside the jail, could be sold for up to five times as much inside the jail.

Lewis was sentenced last year to 41 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, prosecutors said. Johnson pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 36 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

Marek pleaded guilty to delivering contraband to an inmate and is awaiting sentencing.

The Latest
An estimated 1,000 families remain separated under the shameful policy of the previous administration. The Family Reunification Task Force must keep its foot on the gas.
The 59-year-old retired officer was hit in the arm and abdomen and was taken in good condition to Mount Sinai Medical Center, according to police.
Weigel Broadcasting announced Monday that it will take over production of the Illinois High School Association’s football and basketball state finals television broadcasts.
Coming on the heels of his sentencing in New York, the trial marks a new low for Kelly, whose popularity had remained undiminished even after he was indicted in 2002. That shifted sharply after the 2019 airing of the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly.”
A single attack in Gresham on the South Side wounded five people early Sunday, one of them fatally.