Former prison guard admits smuggling tobacco for inmate

Federal prosecutors say a former guard at the federal prison in Atlanta has admitted taking bribes in exchange for smuggling tobacco into the prison.

The U.S. attorney's office in Atlanta said in a news release that 40-year-old Melvin Thomas of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, pleaded guilty Tuesday.

Prosecutors say Thomas worked as a prison guard from July 2009 to April 2017 at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, which doesn't allow inmates to use or have tobacco products. Prosecutors say Thomas accepted several bribe payments from an inmate, totaling about $3,500, to smuggle tobacco into the prison.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced July 10. Authorities say he faces up to 15 years behind bars.