Two men found guilty of participating in a drug-trafficking ring directed by Indiana prison inmates were sentenced in federal court on Tuesday.
Russell Yerden, 45, was sentenced to 27 years and three months and Michael Foley, 32, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, according to a news release issued by the office of U.S. Southern District Attorney Joe Hogsett.
Yerden and Foley were convicted of conspiring in 2012 with inmates Oscar Perez at the Westville Control Unit, Justin “Big J” Addler at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, and Charles Cole at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, to ship large quantities of methamphetamine to Indiana communities from California.
Charging information alleges that Perez, Addler and Cole used smuggled cellphones to arrange shipments around the state via U.S. Mail or couriers. With the help of a corrections officer, Perez and Addler would, at times, smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband to inmates, according to the release.
The indictment details transactions in Indianapolis, Noblesville, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, New Castle and Elkhart and includes heroin, PCP and LSD, in addition to meth.
“This prosecution involves allegations that, for more than a year, inmates orchestrated an illicit business from their prison cells that flooded the state with dangerous drugs,” Hogsett said in the news release. “These convictions and sentencing decisions are testament to our dedication to shutting off these drug pipelines and protecting Indiana neighborhoods.”