Ex-Nevada prison guard gets probation phone smuggling case

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former Nevada state prison guard was sentenced Wednesday to five years' probation for accepting money to smuggle cellphones to an inmate awaiting a death-penalty trial in a fiery Las Vegas Strip crash that killed three people.

Derland Blake also was banned from contact with inmates, and Clark County District Court Judge Kathleen Delaney told him that if he's not working full-time he has to spend 50 hours a month doing community service.

Blake could face two to five years in state prison if he violates probation.

Defense attorney Garrett Ogata didn't immediately respond later to a message.

Blake, 30, of North Las Vegas, was fired from his job and pleaded guilty in September to a felony bribery charge in a plea deal that had prosecutors drop seven other charges against him.

Blake admitted smuggling phones to Ammar Asim Faruq Harris at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs in what prosecutors allege was an escape plan.

Harris, 28, a self-described pimp, has since been moved to the state's maximum security Ely State Prison.

He's awaiting a death-penalty trial in July in a shooting that killed an aspiring rapper behind the wheel of a Maserati and two other people when the sports car hit a taxi that burst into flames in February 2013.

He's is serving 16 years to life in prison for sexual assault and robbery in a June 2010 attack on an 18-year-old woman in Las Vegas. And he was sentenced last week to up to five more years behind bars for bribing a public officer.

Inmate Derrick McKnight pleaded guilty to bribery of a public officer and was sentenced to up to five additional years in prison. But McKnight is already serving life without parole for the fatal December 2006 shooting of former professional basketball player and real estate broker Kenneth Hardwick in Henderson.

Three women — Olga Gonzalez, Re'ann Atkinson, and Charmaine Simmons — also pleaded guilty to bribing an officer in the smuggling case that authorities said involved takeout chicken, vodka, cellphones and a charger being brought into the prison outside Las Vegas.

Atkinson, who also uses the last name Gadson, was sentenced in October to 1½ to four years in prison.

Gonzalez and Simmons were each sentenced this month to five years' probation.

Co-defendant Amy Colon of Atlanta faces trial in March on conspiracy, bribery and furnishing a communications device to a prison inmate charges. She has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege Colon served as go-between for payments from Harris to Simmons, McKnight's mother.

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