Ashville man faces contraband, extortion charges
By David Atchison 

  A state corrections officer, working for the St. Clair County Correctional Facility in St. Clair Springs, was arrested by federal authorities following an FBI sting operation late Friday. 

State corrections officer Cedrick Bothwell, 39, of Ashville, appeared in federal court Tuesday on two federal charges: the introduction of contraband into a prison, and extortion in connection with a collection of a debt owed to him by an inmate he was guarding, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hart said the maximum sentence, if Bothwell is convicted, is 10 and 20 years respectively. 

Bothwell's detention and preliminary hearings were held Tuesday in Birmingham before U.S. Magistrate T. M. Putnam. 

According to testimony, Bothwell allegedly sold drugs to an inmate in the St. Clair County Correctional Facility, who incurred a large debt, $10,000. 

The FBI agent testified that the inmate wrote a letter to his mother after being threatened by Bothwell. The mother, who feared for her son's safety, met twice with Bothwell, presenting him with a $1,500 check and $2,500 in cash. 

The third time, the woman was wired by the FBI, and she gave Bothwell $2,000 in marked FBI money in the parking lot of the McDonalds Restaurant in Boaz. 

Bothwell was apprehended by FBI agents with the money in his possession. 

Putnam set a $50,000 security bond and gave Bothwell home detention Tuesday. 

According to authorities, Bothwell will be monitored with an electronic ankle bracelet at his residence.

Bothwell is not allow to have any contact with any of the witnesses involved in the case and can only talk to his brother and with a captain or above at the St. Clair County Correctional Facility.

The U.S. Attorney Office should present the case to a grand jury within 30 days. The grand jury will determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. 

Brian Corbett, the public information officer for the Department of Corrections in Montgomery, said Bothwell will remain on leave without pay until the due process is completed.

As of right now, to the best of my knowledge, he has not resigned, Corbett said. 

Corbett said Bothwell will remain a DOC employee unless he is found guilty or resigns from his job. 

About David Atchison David Atchison is a staff writer for The Daily Home. 

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