Sex-with-Inmates Arrests Trigger Florida Prison Gunfight - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/21/06-Tallahassee, FL

Sex-with-Inmates Arrests Trigger Florida Prison Gunfight

A guard facing charges in a sex-with-inmates probe opened fire on federal agents trying to arrest him Wednesday at a federal prison in Tallahassee, Florida.

The shooter and a federal agent were killed in the gunfight, the FBI said. A Bureau of Prisons official was wounded.

Federal agents were serving arrest warrants on six guards when the shooting started, around 7:45 a.m.

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted the six on charges including exchanging contraband for sex with female inmates.

The guards also are accused of attempting to keep the inmates silent through money and intimidation, according to the indictment.

Jeff Westcott, spokesman for the FBI's Jacksonville bureau, said the guard fired on the federal agents as they moved in to arrest him.

Federal agents returned fire, killing the suspect, Westcott said. An agent with the Department of Justice's Office of Inspector General died in the shootout, he said.

The grand jury indictment charges six male guards at the women's prison with a single count of conspiracy. Named in the indictment are Bureau of Prisons guards Alfredo Barnes, Gregory Dixon, Ralph Hill, Vincent Johnson, Alan Moore and E. Lavon Spence.

The indictment, the product of a year-long investigation, alleges that from September 2003 until June 2005 the six guards conspired to swap contraband -- drugs, alcohol, money and favors -- for sex with at least 10 female inmates. The details of the scandal are laid out in the indictment's 70 charged overt acts.

Five of the six guards are accused of having sexual contact with inmates in exchange for contraband. The indictment does not allege that guard Johnson had sex with anyone, but does allege that he discouraged an inmate from cooperating with the investigation.

The guards are accused of facilitating the sexual contracts by covering for each other, swapping shifts and paying willing female inmates with cash and other contraband.

The guards also were accused of abusing their authority to keep the scheme going. They allegedly monitored inmates' phone conversations, abused their access to inmates' confidential computer files, and urged them not to cooperate with investigators.

In some cases, the indictment said, they threatened to transfer uncooperative inmates to other prisons father away from their families.

They guards allegedly paid cash and other contraband for some inmates' silence while threatening to transfer other inmates who indicated they would report sexual advances or otherwise expose the alleged scheme.

According to the indictment, at least one federal agent went undercover at the prison. The indictment states that, at Barnes' urging, the undercover agent mailed a $600 money order to purchase contraband.

Barnes allegedly called the undercover agent's cell phone to discuss delivery of the contraband, and Johnson passed on a message to an inmate on Barnes' behalf, the indictment charges.

The Tallahassee facility holds mainly women, but includes an area holding men awaiting trial.

The facility was put on lockdown after the shooting, officials said.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann and Terry Frieden contributed to this report.

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