BOISE — Four ex-correctional officers for the Idaho Department of Correction now await sentencing for their roles in conspiring to bring illegal drugs into a state prison.
On Jan. 7, Erik Thompson, 37, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to the Idaho U.S. Attorney’s Office. He is the most recent of four former prison employees charged.
The officers were charged after an investigation was initiated by the FBI at IDOC’s request to address concerns of corruption among correctional officers.
Thompson was initially charged with conspiracy to aid and abet drug trafficking crimes, distribution of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of those drug trafficking offenses. He pleaded guilty to two counts, pursuant to a plea agreement.
“According to court records, Thompson joined in a conspiracy to assist what he believed to be a large-scale drug organization. The drug dealers he was working for, however, were undercover FBI agents,” according to a news release from the U.S. attorney. “Thompson admitted to carrying a handgun while conducting surveillance of what appeared to be a drug transaction on behalf of the undercover FBI agents. Thompson also admitted to carrying a handgun while he provided security and assisted in weighing 6 kilograms of cocaine.”
Former IDOC officer Richard McCollough, 37, pleaded guilty to the same firearms offenses as Thompson, while Robert Wallin, 36, and Timothy Landon, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid and abet drug trafficking crimes.
All four defendants were terminated from IDOC. None of the defendants were in sole possession of the drugs and no contraband was brought into any IDOC facility during the police operations.
Sentencing for Thompson is set for April 7; for Wallin, Feb. 12; for McCollough, Feb. 25; and for Landon, Feb. 26.
Each count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime is punishable by at least five years to life in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and at least five years of supervised release.