Federal prisoner, fiancée ran taxi service for escaped inmates in Atlanta

- A federal prisoner and his fiancée have pleaded guilty to running a taxi service to help inmates escape from the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta.

United States Attorney John A. Horn said in a news release Tuesday that inmate Deldrick D. Jackson, 41, and his fiancée Kelly M. Bass, 38, conspired to provide escaped inmates with transportation to local hotels, restaurants, and residences in exchange for a fee.

Both are facing conspiratorial and substantive escape charges. The other inmates involved will also face federal charges, the statement said.

Horn said the scheme heavily relied on smartphones illegally obtained by the inmates.

According to the statement, the transports occurred between November 2016 to April 2017. In one instance, Bass picked up Jackson and other escaped inmates and drove them to a nearby hotel and, hours later, returned them to the penitentiary. The escaped inmates paid Jackson and Bass using a cell phone payment app.

Financial records show that Bass received approximately $4,000 from accounts associated with USP Atlanta inmates or the inmates’ families, the statement said.    

On April 13, Bass picked up Jackson and drove him to a local fast food restaurant. Shortly after, authorities stopped the vehicle and arrested the pair. After a search of the vehicle, officers recovered two cell phones, 83 packs of cigarettes, and eight bottles of Canadian whiskey.

In May 2010, Jackson was convicted in federal court of conspiring to distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money. He was assigned to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta from July 2016 to April 2017, the statement said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department are investigating this case.

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