WILLIAMSPORT - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that on May 5, 2022, federal inmate John Alexander Townsend, age 41, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge William I. Arbuckle, for possessing a cellphone in prison. Following the guilty plea, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arbuckle sentenced Townsend to one month imprisonment, to run consecutive to Townsend’s 186-month prison term for a series of armed robberies in Philadelphia. Townsend also lost 54 days of good time and spent 30 days in disciplinary segregation for possessing the cellphone.
According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, on May 10, 2021, a corrections officer’s metal detector alerted on Townsend at the Low Security Correctional Institution, Allenwood. Staff then searched Townsend and found a Samsung cellphone and charger hidden in a pocket stitched on the inside of Townsend’s prison uniform. Federal law prohibits inmates from possessing cellphones due to the institutional security risks posed by their use.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Drew O. Inman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alisan V. Martin prosecuted the case.