FMC guard pleads guilty to bribery for bring inmates tobacco

For the second time in recent history, a correctional officer at the Federal Medical Center has pleaded guilty to taking money from inmates in exchange for bringing contraband into the facility.

Cheryl Wheeler, 53, of Wabasha, pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to accepting about $5,000 in bribes from relatives of two inmates in exchange for supplying those inmates with tobacco.

She pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of a public official. She admitted that from July 2009 through February 2010, she demanded and received bribes from the relatives of two inmates in exchange for giving tobacco to the inmates.

Wheeler is the second correctional officer at the FMC to be charged in federal court with bribery. In March, Richard Torres, 27, now of Little Rock, Ark., was sentenced to one year in prison for taking $6,500 from an inmate in exchange for smuggling in cell phones and tobacco between November 2008 and June 2009.

Wheeler and Torres no longer work as correctional officers.

Wheeler faces 15 years in prison. No sentencing date has been set.


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