Feds: Former Michigan corrections officer planned to smuggle drugs into prison

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A man the U.S. Attorney's office said is a former Michigan Department of Corrections officer has been charged in a federal indictment for alleged plans to distribute drugs in the prison where he worked, the agency announced Friday.

Brandon McGaffigan, 29, of Flint, was arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court on three counts, records show: possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Brandon McGaffigan, 29, of Flint, is charged by the U.S. Attorney's office with planning to smuggle drugs inside the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer County.

Each count carries a penalty of up to 20 to 30 years in prison.

McGaffigan was employed at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer County.

The facility houses both adult and juvenile prisoners, according to the state Department of Corrections website.

The department placed McGaffigan on unpaid suspension when he was arrested at the facility in January, spokesman Chris Gautz told The Detroit News. 

Gautz on Friday said he was "not aware of any change in his status" on Friday.

According to the indictment filed this month, on Jan. 22, authorities allege McGaffigan had more than 50 grams of methamphetamine well as cocaine and heroin he planned to deliver into the prison.

Clint Perryman, McGaffigan's attorney, said his client initially was charged in Lapeer County before authorities moved the case to the federal level.

At this point, Perryman said, "We’re still going through the discovery information. We’re going to make sure we give him the best defense possible."

Meanwhile, McGaffigan has also found other employment, Perryman said.

“As a corrections officer, McGaffigan’s duties are to maintain safety and security within the facility,” U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison said. “The allegations that he intended to smuggle drugs into the prison completely undermines his duties as a corrections officer and creates significant dangers within the walls of the prison.”

The state corrections department now houses all of its juvenile offenders at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer.

McGaffigan surrendered to Drug Enforcement Administration investigators this week, federal officials said Friday.

“Illicit drugs have no place in our society, but they can be especially problematic inside a correctional facility,” said Kent Kleinschmidt, Acting Special Agent in Charge for the DEA's Detroit Division. “No matter your profession or background, DEA will investigate anyone who violates the nation’s drug laws.”

At his arraignment before Magistrate Judge Curtis Ivy Jr., McGaffigan was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, records show.

As part of the conditions for his release, McGaffigan was ordered to surrender his Michigan enhanced driver's license, submit to drug testing and not possess controlled substances.

A status conference is scheduled for May 19, followed by a final pretrial conference on June 7, federal court records show. A trial date is set for June 14 in Flint.