Airway Heights Correction Officer pleads guilty to smuggling drugs into prison

Airway Heights Corrections Center
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AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — A Washington prison guard has pleaded guilty to smuggling drugs into the Airway Heights Corrections Center.

According to a federal plea agreement, Michael Mattern pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 5 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, heroin and Suboxone. This charge carries a sentence of up to 40 years and no less than five.

Court documents show that federal prosecutors will recommend a sentence on the lower end of that criminal charge. They’ll also recommend a 10-year term of supervised release.

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Mattern, who worked at the prison for 20 years, was arrested in late July when federal investigators found him smuggling drugs into the prison in his lunch pail. They used recorded phone calls between a prisoner and a woman on the outside to help build their case against Mattern.

According to the federal indictment, it says that multiple confidential informants who are inmates at the prison informed investigators that a guard in the “R” unit was bringing in drugs. Some specifically identified Mattern. That led to the start of the investigation, which federal agents say “Mattern has been compromised as a corrections officer and is introducing controlled substances into AHCC’s secure facility in exchange for money, drugs, and sex.”

Two more people were also involved in this crimes.

Brandy Lorentzen is accused of facilitating the operation from outside the prison. Joseph Owen Burnett was the offender inside the prison accused of running the operation from the inside.

Both Lorentzen and Burnett reached a plea agreement last month for the same count as Mattern. Everyone will be sentenced in April.

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