Corrections Officer, Inmate Charged in Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy Inside Stillwater Prison

1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MINNEAPOLIS – A Stillwater corrections officer and an inmate have been indicted for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution organization within the Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF)-Stillwater, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, Faith Rose Gratz, 24, a MCF – Stillwater corrections officer, and Axel Rene Kramer, 34, an inmate who is currently serving a 288-month sentence for second degree murder, conspired with each other to distribute methamphetamine within MCF – Stillwater, Minnesota’s largest high security prison facility. As part of the conspiracy, Kramer obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from sources of supply outside the prison. After Kramer and another co-conspirator inmate worked with the drug suppliers to arrange meet up times and locations, Gratz would pick up the drug packages. Gratz used her position as a prison guard to smuggle the drugs into the secure facility and then provide the drugs to Kramer while she was on duty guarding him. Gratz did this on approximately six different occasions. Gratz also smuggled into the prison multiple cell phones that she provided to Kramer. Kramer used the cell phones to communicate with people inside and outside the prison and to facilitate his drug distribution network from within the prison.

According to court documents, Gratz and Kramer exchanged hundreds of text messages with each other. The messages included communications about the drug distribution conspiracy as well as discussions about their romantic relationship. Gratz also warned Kramer about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells so that Kramer could hide his phone and drugs to avoid detection.

On April 8, 2022, after recovering Kramer’s cell phone, law enforcement officers confronted Gratz about the drug distribution operation. Officers searched Gratz’s car and recovered a half pound of methamphetamine.

Gratz and Kramer are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Gratz is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The defendants will make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court before a Magistrate Judge at a later date.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Bayport Police Department, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Harry M. Jacobs is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.