A corrections officer at the Airway Heights Corrections Center (AHCC) has been arrested and is facing federal charges after being accused of smuggling drugs into the facility.
In a criminal complaint filed by an FBI agent, Michael Mattern is accused of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Multiple criminal informants were said to have informed investigators that a corrections officer in the facility's "R" Unit was bringing Suboxone and other contraband into the facility. Some of those informants specifically identified Mattern.
Those allegations prompted an investigation into Mattern, which led to evidence that his status as a corrections officer has been compromised and that he'd been bringing in the controlled substances in exchange for money, drugs and sex, according to the complaint.
The investigation was aided by the knowledge that general visitation to all correctional facilities has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the only practical way for inmates to obtain contraband, including controlled substances, was through Department of Corrections employees.
The complaint alleges that AHCC inmate Joseph Burnett would call contacts outside the prison and use a coded language to discuss controlled substances and transactions. During those conversations, they referred to someone they called "Goldy" or "Gold Car Guy." Investigators believe that Mattern is that person, based on the fact that he drives a gold Nissan Altima. Mattern was also seen meeting with one of those informants at times that correspond with jail calls.
Based on information gathered from summaries of Burnett's calls and surveillance of Mattern, law enforcement officers arrested Matteern within the AHCC on Monday, July 20. While searching his person, officers recovered his lunchbox, inside which was a tobacco tin. Inside the tin were two rubber gloves containing small Ziplock baggies that held a white crystalline substance. That substance tested presumptively positive for methamphetamine.
In an interview with the FBI agent, Mattern acknowledge that he received $1,000 from one of Burnett's known contacts, which lined up with jail calls.
Mattern has been a corrections officer at AHCC since August of 2000.