A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to smuggle contraband cell phones and other items to inmates at the Jackson County Detention Center.
Marion Lorenzo Byers, also known as “Cuddy,” 36, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to two years and three months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered the federal sentence be served consecutively to whatever revocation sentence may be imposed in state court as a result of Byers violating his probation for a DUI conviction in Buchanan County, Mo.
Byers, who pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2017, admitted that he conspired with others – including a corrections officer and an inmate at the Jackson County Detention Center – to smuggle contraband to inmates between May 2 and June 26, 2017. Byers also admitted that he delivered contraband to a co-conspirator, who in turn delivered the contraband to a corrections officer at the detention center, who was to deliver the contraband to an inmate.
Co-defendant Jalee Caprice Fuller, 30, of Independence, Mo., the former corrections officer, pleaded guilty to her role in the conspiracy and awaits sentencing. Co-defendants Carlos Laron Hughley, 33, an inmate at the Jackson County Detention Center, and Janikkia Lashay Carter, 37, both of Kansas City, Mo., have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
In a separate but related case, another former corrections officer at the Jackson County Detention Center, Andre Lamonte Dickerson, 27, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to two counts of using a telephone in furtherance of the unlawful activity of acceding to corruption, related to a public servant taking a bribe in return for violating his legal duty. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2018.
The Travel Act
The Travel Act makes it a crime to use a facility of interstate commerce (such as telephone calls) with the intent to further unlawful activity. The Travel Act’s definition of “unlawful activity” includes bribery in violation of the laws of a state. Missouri state law makes it a crime for a public servant to solicit or accept a bribe in return for violating a known legal duty. This crime is known under Missouri state law as acceding to corruption, and it is a companion or sister statute to the Missouri state statute that makes it a crime for someone to bribe a public servant. These two Missouri state statutes criminalize bribery conduct involving a public servant, both for the person paying the bribe and for the public servant taking the bribe.
Byers admitted that he conspired to violate the Travel Act by using a facility of interstate commerce (a telephone) to facilitate the promotion of an unlawful activity, that is, acceding to corruption.
This case is being prosecuted by Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Venneman. It was investigated by the FBI and the Jackson County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Jackson County Detention Center.