Crime & Courts

Leavenworth prison guard charged in federal bribery case

U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth (2012)
U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth (2012) Associated Press

A federal prison guard has been charged with taking bribes to smuggle contraband into the United States penitentiary in Leavenworth.

Michael Harston, 52, is facing one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of accepting bribes to take tobacco to inmates between October 2013 and August 2014, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

An indictment alleges Harston received payments from inmates’ relatives using wire transfers. Video surveillance cameras in the prison caught him giving tobacco to inmates, Grissom said.

If convicted, Harston could spend up to five years in federal prison and pay a maximum fine of $250,000 on the conspiracy charge, Grissom said. The bribery counts each carry a penalty of up to 15 years prison time and up to $250,000 in fines.

Leavenworth penitentiary, a medium-security facility with an adjacent minimum-security camp, houses 1,919 male inmates.

Harston is a Kansas City, Mo., resident.

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