Cheney Free Press -

Prison guard accused of smuggling drugs

Jailer supplied inmates with contraband


Last updated 7/24/2020 at 11:10am

AIRWAY HEIGHTS—Michael T. Mattern, a correctional officer at Airway Heights Corrections Center, is being held in Spokane County Jail after being arrested by federal agents July 20 on suspicion of smuggling methamphetamine and other drugs into the corrections center for prisoners.

According to media reports, Mattern, 45, faces charges of possessing meth with intent to distribute, which carries a minimum five-year prison sentence.

Mattern was arrested in a secure part of the corrections center after authorities found a tobacco tin containing 15 grams of meth in plastic bags, which were in turn stored in rubber bags, according to reports. Heroin and Suboxone were also found, according to media reports, which cited a 63-page criminal complaint filed in Spokane U.S. District Court. Suboxone is reportedly a oft-abused drug among inmates at the corrections center.

The complaint reportedly details co-conspirators and a variety of methods used to smuggle drugs into the corrections center.

Federal agents followed Mattern from his Spokane Valley residence to a Rite Aid parking lot July 19 and saw him receive a white envelope- believed to contain drugs-from a second vehicle, according to media reports.

The complaint also reportedly details transcripts of recorded phone calls between a Spokane Valley woman named Brandy Lorentzen and corrections center inmate Joseph Burnett, who spoke about the drugs they planned to smuggle, according to media reports. Lorentzen previously was arrested in 2008 on a federal heroin trafficking charge and reportedly violated her supervision terms.

Authorities believe it was Lorentzen who met Mattern at the Rite Aid.

Mattern has reportedly resigned from his position, which he held for 20 years.


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