A convicted murderer is now facing charges for allegedly running a drug trafficking operation inside a local prison.
The Union County Grand Jury has indicted Antranise Fuller, 36, who is incarcerated in the Dayton Correctional Institution. She is charged with one count each of trafficking in drugs, tampering with evidence and possession of drugs. Fuller is 15 years into a 15-years-to-life prison sentence for murder and other violent offenses out of Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.
According to court documents, on March 24, 2018, Fuller was an inmate at the Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW). Officials there conducted a surprise inspection, including a strip search. During the search, officials saw a green object in the woman’s underpants.
“She was told to give the object to corrections officers,” said Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips. “Instead of turning the object over to the corrections officer as ordered, she allegedly shoved it inside of herself.”
Phillips said that, “eventually the object was recovered.”
He said the object contained 19 strips of a drug known as Suboxone. He said it is often used to help addicts recover from opiate addiction, but it can also be abused.
Phillips said the woman admitted to having and to trafficking the drugs in prison.
If convicted on all counts, Fuller could face more than six additional years in prison. Phillips said he will fight for the additional prison time.
“When you have a situation like this, life doesn’t always mean spending life in prison so we would argue for additional time,” Phillips said. “There is really only so much you can do.”
Phillips said that drugs pose a threat in the outside community, but an even greater danger in a closed community of prison. He said that’s why his office has “been very consistent in prosecuting these cases.”
“These corrections officers need to be able to maintain order in the prisons and when you introduce drugs in the prison, it hinders their ability to do that,” Phillips said. “For the safety and security of the staff and of the other inmates, we need to stop the trafficking of drugs in the prison and to be able to stop the influx of drugs into the prison.”
He added that many prison inmates are working to get off drugs and in addition to creating control and demand issues inside the prison having access to drugs hinders their rehabilitation efforts.
The prosecutor said investigators do not know how Fuller had been allegedly trafficking the drugs or how she got the drugs while she was inside the prison.
“There is any number of ways that drugs can get into the prison,” Phillips said.
He explained that Suboxone strips are relatively small and can be snuck into the prison in a variety of ways including mailed in or brought in by a visitor.
Phillips said that every visitor to the institution is warned they could be searched and warned of the possible penalties for bringing drugs into the prison.
Curtis Clutters, 44, of Ironton could be learning about the penalties the hard way. Clutters was also indicted, charged with one count of illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto grounds of a specified governmental facility, stemming from an unrelated incident.
According to court documents, on May 5, Clutters was going to ORW to visit an inmate. He allegedly walked through all the checkpoints but as he was going through the final security screening, investigators found four strips of Suboxone hidden inside the insole of his shoe.
Also indicted was:
Melanie Featherston, 23, whose court-listed address is the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Featherston is charged with two counts of harassment with a bodily substance and assault. On March 11, Featherston was an inmate at ORW, serving a sentence for burglary out of Franklin County. According to court documents, she was being moved from one cell to another with another status.
“She physically refused to be moved,” Phillips said.
He explained that a nurse called for more help and when the additional officers arrived, Featherston, “allegedly, threw closed fists at the officers, allegedly spit on them, allegedly kicked one of the corrections officers, and allegedly attempted to assault a nurse.”
Eventually prison officials used pepper spray to subdue the woman.
“We have these laws in place for good reason,” Phillips said. “Not only is spitting disgusting it is a health risk. Corrections officers know they are going to work in a prison, but that doesn’t mean they should be assaulted or put their health at risk so we take these cases very seriously.”
According to prison records, Featherston has been released. If convicted, she could face as many as seven years in prison.
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