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Inmate Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy Inside Stillwater Prison

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An inmate has pleaded guilty to conspiring with a corrections officer to distribute methamphetamine inside the Stillwater prison, announced United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, Axel Rene Kramer, 36, an inmate who is currently serving a 288-month sentence for second degree murder, conspired with Faith Rose Gratz, 26, a former Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF)-Stillwater corrections officer, to distribute methamphetamine within MCF – Stillwater, Minnesota’s largest high security prison facility. As part of the conspiracy, Kramer obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from sources of supply outside the prison. After Kramer and another co-conspirator inmate worked with the drug suppliers to arrange meet up times and locations, Gratz would pick up the drug packages. Gratz used her position as a prison guard to smuggle the drugs into the secure facility and then provide the drugs to Kramer while she was on duty guarding him. Gratz did this on approximately six different occasions. Gratz also smuggled into the prison multiple cell phones that she provided to Kramer. Kramer used the cell phones to communicate with people inside and outside the prison and to facilitate his drug distribution network from within the prison.

According to court documents, Kramer and Gratz exchanged hundreds of text messages with each other. The messages included communications about the drug distribution conspiracy as well as discussions about their romantic relationship. Gratz also warned Kramer about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells.

Kramer pleaded guilty on January 5, 2024, in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later time.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Bayport Police Department, and the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Jacobs and Matthew D. Evans are prosecuting the case.


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