A former corrections officer was sentenced to eight months in federal prison for his role in smuggling drugs into Goose Creek Correctional Center last year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alaska.
Adam Jason Spindler, 33, will have to fulfill three years of probation and three weeks of community service when released. He also handed over a vehicle and was ordered to pay a fine of $1,400 as part of his conviction, prosecutors said.
Spindler faced a prison sentence of up to 20 years. Court records show he pleaded guilty in August to single counts of drug conspiracy and possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute.
The former Wasilla-based prison guard agreed on multiple occasions between March and May 2016 to smuggle drugs into Goose Creek for several inmates, according to assistant U.S. attorney Andrea Hattan, who handled the case. Spindler obtained the drugs by meeting with inmates' "drug associates" in the community, Hattan said.
One inmate Spindler schemed with was Edward Wayne George, aka "Bigs." George was housed in a section of Goose Creek where Spindler worked, and he gave Spindler his girlfriend's cellphone number to coordinate bringing drugs into the prison for distribution to other inmates, prosecutors said. In a 20-day span, Spindler contacted George's girlfriend about 35 times, they said.
"Spindler got the drugs into the prison by hiding them when he reported for work. As a Corrections Officer, Spindler had to pass through a metal detector but was not routinely subjected to pat-down or further searches when he entered GCCC," prosecutors said.
Three months after Spindler was charged and more information about his smuggling was released, Alaska Department of Corrections spokesman Corey Allen-Young said the department's then-new Professional Conduct Unit was looking at policies and potential risks in an effort to prevent similar incidents.
The conduct unit is charged with investigating a variety of issues ranging from ethical concerns to staff complaints within DOC, but focuses on potential criminal matters.
When asked if the corrections department has made any changes due to Spindler, Allen-Young said in an email that searching staff for drugs has inherent limitations, both legal and practical. And most drugs make it into the correctional facilities through inmates and visitors, he said.
"A better strategy is to continue to foster staff's ability to maintain professional boundaries and retain the highest integrity," Allen-Young said. "Staff can help other staff keep on track or look out for each other if any boundaries are slipping."
George, 27, was sentenced in early April to nearly three years in prison for his role in the smuggling. His girlfriend, 20-year-old Taylor Hunter, will be sentenced in May.
The scheme came to an end when Spindler was caught trying to smuggle marijuana and heroin into Goose Creek on May 23, 2016, according to charges in the case. FBI personnel, who had been tipped off about the smuggling, witnessed Spindler meeting with a drug courier in Wasilla before heading to work, according to the charges.
When caught by authorities, Spindler told investigators he was paid about $1,400 for getting the drugs into the prison and clarified that he did it for the "excitement," not for the money, Hattan said.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason said she was troubled by the notion that Spindler was lured by the thrill of the criminal activity, particularly given his position of public trust.
Officials noted that handing down a penalty including time in prison was necessary.
"The vast majority of government employees work hard every day to serve the people of the nation and our state," said Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder. "However, when one of them becomes corrupt, it is necessary to hold them accountable."