Stillwater corrections officer, inmate charged in meth distribution conspiracy

A corrections officer and an inmate were charged Thursday for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine inside a Stillwater high-security prison, according to the Department of Justice. 

Corrections officer Faith Rose Gratz, 24, and inmate Axel Rene Kramer, 34, were charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Gratz was also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute, according to the court documents. 

The correction officer allegedly brought drugs into the prison on approximately six different occasions. On April 8, law enforcement confronted Gratz about the alleged drug operation and searched her car, where they found half a pound of methamphetamine, the documents state. 

During the investigation, officers recovered Kramer’s cell phone, which allegedly contains hundreds of text messages between the pair discussing their romantic relationship and drug distribution operation. Kramer and another co-conspirator inmate would arrange for Gratz to pick up the drugs outside the prison. The 24-year-old would then smuggle the drugs into prison and pass it off to Kramer while she was on duty, according to the documents.

The court documents state Gratz also brought several cell phones into the prison and gave them to Kramer, who used them to run the drug operation. She allegedly warned him about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells, so he could hide contraband and avoid detection.

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

Gratz and Kramer will make their first court appearance at a later date.