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How Cigarettes And Cell Phones Allegedly Led To A Kidnapping

Courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety

It started with cigarettes and cell phones. It ended when an FBI hostage rescue team freed the father of a Wake County assistant district attorney and with two former North Carolina prison guards facing federal charges. Just how the guards helped make the kidnapping, which took place last year, possible were laid out in federal charges this week.

In 2014, Gregory Gouldman was in charge of the night shift at Polk Correctional Institute. He made just over $32,000 a year according to the state salary database. And Gouldman, prosecutors say, first started adding to that income by sneaking banned cigarettes into the prison and selling them to an inmate in solitary confinement for $50 a pack.

Soon the inmate asked for more and more contraband. Gouldman agreed and met with the inmate’s girlfriend in a parking lot in town. She gave him a sock stuffed with marijuana and quote a couple hundred bucks. He kept the cash, smoked some of the pot and later slipped the rest to the inmate during his shift.

Then another inmate started requesting banned items. So Gouldman met another woman, this time in the prison’s parking lot, she handed him a Wendy’s bag containing two cheeseburgers. The guard got it through security by saying it was his lunch. Inside the cheeseburgers were packets of marijuana which Gouldman allegedly delivered to the second inmate along with his laundry.

Later, a Subway sandwich with cell phones stuffed inside earned him $600 from an inmate. Roughly equal to a week and a half of pay for the guard. This pattern, prosecutors say, was repeated over and over again.

At some point, prosecutors believe, one of the cell phones made it to a gang leader in solitary confinement and he ordered the kidnapping.

If convicted Gouldman face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.