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Chillicothe Prison Guard Charged With Helping Bring Meth Into Prison

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Federal prosecutors say a former guard at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution conspired with several inmates to distribute drugs in the prison.

Former prison guard James Barlage is among seven people named in a new federal indictment.

The indictment charges Barlage, 31, of Chillicothe, Mario Evans, 40, formerly of Dayton, Edward E. Bellman, 45, formerly of Miamisburg, Moses M. Stevens, 53, formerly of Xenia, Jon Christopher Birt, 50, of Dayton, Jamie L. Naegele, 47, of Brookville and Anthony Scott Blankenship, 32, of Columbus, with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Barlage and Blankenship are also charged with one count each of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Prosecutors say that on at least one occasion, Barlage received the drugs from Birt for the purpose of redistributing within the Chillicothe prison.

“The defendants allegedly used at least one unauthorized cell phone within the prison to coordinate payment for the drugs and exchange of the drugs for transportation to CCI,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said in a written release. “They also allegedly used Western Union to transfer funds for the drugs.”

Conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine are each crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison.