A former guard at the Green Hill School, a juvenile rehabilitation facility in Chehalis, was indicted late Wednesday by a federal grand jury for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for delivering contraband, including illegal drugs, into the facility.
According to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Julio W. Hayes began working as a guard at Green Hill School in November 2018 and allegedly began accepting bribes from offenders or their family and friends in May 2019 for smuggling marijuana, iPhones, vape pens and chewing tobacco into the facility. Hayes was allegedly paid in cash and via electronic payments such as Cash App and accepted more than $11,000 before his employment was terminated in February 2020.
“This illegal conduct at a juvenile facility sends exactly the wrong message to young people trying to rehabilitate,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. “This defendant demonstrated that for a price, he would defeat the restrictions at Green Hill School — restrictions that are aimed at maintaining safety, as well as helping youth return to a productive path. This case should serve as a warning to others tempted to trade their ethics for financial gain.”
The indictment describes various text messages and electronic payments where Hayes allegedly took “orders” from offenders as to the types of contraband they wanted him to bring to the facility. The offenders would set the pricing and payment amounts for his services. Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on Hayes on Feb. 25 while he was reportedly on his way into work and found marijuana packaged for smuggling into the facility, as well as three vape cartridges containing liquid marijuana.
Hayes has been charged with seven counts of Hobbs Act Extortion — Under Color of Official Right, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
He is scheduled for an arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court on March 16.
“We don’t tolerate this type of activity at all and this incident demonstrates our zero-tolerance policy,” said Nancy Gutierrez, deputy director of communications for the Washington state Department of Children, Youth and Families, which operates Green Hill School. “This prosecution is a result of our leadership and Green Hill School staff, whose goal is to operate a safe, secure, and therapeutic environment for our youth.”
The case is being investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Chehalis Police Department and the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET) in Lewis County.
“It was our staff who called in the FBI drug task force and local law enforcement with our suspicions and observations and we are appreciative of their partnership and support,” Gutierrez said. “We are pleased this is finally moving forward, as progress on the case had slowed with COVID.”