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Ex-prison officer sentenced for taking bribes in California

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A former federal prison corruption investigator was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months behind bars for taking $15,000 in bribes to smuggle methamphetamine, cellphones and other contraband into a California lockup.

Paul James Hayes II, 52, of Victorville, was sentenced by a federal judge more than a year after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and accepting a bribe, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.

Hayes worked at the Federal Correctional Complex, Victorville, which is in the Mojave Desert. Before retiring in 2019, Hayes was a lieutenant with a federal prison unit that investigates illegal activity by correctional officers and inmates, according to the statement.

In 2018, Hayes took several cash bribes from a woman in return for smuggling at least four packages of contraband into the high-security penitentiary at the Victorville prison complex, authorities said.

He passed the goods to inmates who distributed them to other prisoners, authorities said.

A co-defendant, Angel Marie Wagner, 44, of Buena Park, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy and bribery. She was sentenced in February to two years of probation.

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