Former federal prison employee, inmate plead guilty in bribery case

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A former employee and an inmate at USP Big Sandy federal prison in Martin County have pleaded guilty in a bribery-contraband case, according to federal court documents.

Hank Williams, who was a cook supervisor at the prison, pleaded guilty to taking bribes, conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and using the mail to facilitate the commission of a felony, according to the court documents.

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According to court documents, Williams used fake names to have meth, heroin, marijuana, cell phones and other contraband mailed to his son’s home in Georgetown that Williams would pick up.

Williams admitted to providing drugs and other items to inmates in exchange for cash, according to court documents.

The scheme lasted more than three years, dating back to spring 2016, according court documents.

The scheme was uncovered following a search of inmate Librado Navarette’s cell in May 2019, according to prosecutors.  Investigators say they found marijuana, synthetic marijuana referred to as K2, tobacco and cell phones.

Navarette is in prison for selling meth in California, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Investigators say he had ties to the Mexican Mafia.

Prosecutors say the investigation that began after the search of Navarette’s cell led them to Williams.  According to Williams’ plea deal, he received between $82,500 and $89,600 in bribes.

He is scheduled to be sentenced August 30, 2021 in federal court in Lexington.

Navarette is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Lexington on October 12, 2021.

Librado Navarette/Federal Bureau of Prisons

 

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.