Notice to Preserve Agency Records in FCI Talladega Contraband Trafficking/RICO Case
Updated: Jan 31
To: Director, U.S. Bureau of Prisons and Inspector General, U.S. Department of Justice
From: Donald V. Watkins (Reg. No. 36223-001)
Date: January 27, 2021
The undersigned is an inmate in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP). My inmate number is 36223-001. I entered the BOP system on August 28, 2019 at FCI Talladega’s camp on a self-surrender basis.
On January 27, 2020, I filed a confidential U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) “whistleblower” complaint with the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The complaint reported widespread public corruption and contraband trafficking at the prison camp. [Click here to read the complaint.] The complaint warned OIG officials that Talladega prison officials would subject me to retaliation if my complaint was revealed to them. Between April 27 and May 6, 2020, Talladega BOP officials learned of the complaint’s existence. As predicted, their retaliation was swift, harsh, and unrelenting. The ringleaders of the retaliation are Warden Cheron Y. Nash and Camp Unit Manager Destiney Lassiter .
Summary of Racketeering Enterprise at FCI Talladega
The contraband trafficking ring I observed at FCI Talladega operated as an ongoing criminal enterprise and RICO conspiracy, as defined in 18 USC § 1961 (4). It involved prison senior management executives, SIS Unit officers, correctional officers, trusted inmates, and other participants. The RICO enterprise sold the following items of contraband to camp inmates: (a) cellphones and cellular devices, in violation of BOP rules and regulations; (b) tobacco, in violation of BOP rules and regulations; (c) marijuana, in violation of state of Alabama criminal laws; and (d) illegal drugs, as defined in 21 USC § 841 and 846. The Talladega RICO conspirators were aided and abetted by BOP employees in the Southeast Regional Office (SERO) in Atlanta and Central Office in Washington, D.C. in furthering the objectives of the RICO conspiracy, namely: (a) intimidating potential OIG witnesses, in violation of 18 USC § 1512, and (b) retaliating against the OIG “whistleblower” in violation of 18 USC § 1513. These acts affected interstate and foreign commerce and aided the RICO enterprise, in violation of 18 § 1952.
Each conspirator in the racketeering enterprise agreed that another conspirator would commit at least two acts of racketeering in the conduct of the affairs of the enterprise. As a group, the conspirators committed a litany of overt acts from September 2019 to the present in furtherance of the objectives of the criminal enterprise. Finally, the RICO conspirators enriched themselves by selling contraband items to inmates, and they protected the enterprise by tampering with potential witnesses and retaliating against this “whistleblower”.
Petitioning Congress for New “Whistleblower” Protection Legislation
The undersigned is in the process of petitioning Congress for new “whistleblower” protection legislation that is designed to protect BOP “whistleblowers” from acts of retaliation by DOJ/BOP employees who engage in racketeering at BOP correctional institutions. Because Talladega RICO participants were aided and abetted by BOP officials in the SERO and Central Office, I have addressed this pre-filing “Notice to Preserve Agency Records” directly to the heads of the BOP and OIG.
Agency Records Covered by the Notice
1. BOP Incident Report #3397708 against George Dunn (Reg. No. 61181-019) and Donald Watkins (Reg. No. 36223-001), dated May 12, 2020.
2. BOP Detention Order for Donald Watkins, dated April 27, 2020 and all release of detention documents, including personal property receipts, dated May 6, 2020.
3. “Chain of Custody Log” and “Evidence Photos” in Incident Report #3397708, dated May 12, 2020.
4. DHO Report of Incident Report #3397708, dated May 20, 2020
5. Any and all records of telephone calls and emails between FCI Talladega officials and DHO S.D. Sawyer (Atlanta) from May 12, 2020 to the present relating to Incident Report #3397708.
6. Video of May 20, 2020 DHO hearing conducted by S. D. Sawyer for George Dunn and Donald Watkins in connection with Incident Report #3397708.
7. Any and all records of telephone calls and emails between FCI Talladega officials, SERO officials, and Central Office officials and First Assistant U. S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples (Birmingham, Alabama) relating to Donald Watkins from April 14, 2020 to present.
8. Any and all records of telephone calls, “management variable” requests, and emails between FCI Talladega officials, SERO officials, and Central Office officials from May 12, 2020 to the present regarding Incident Report #3397708, George Dunn, and Donald Watkins.
9. Any and all records of telephone calls and emails between FCI Talladega officials and other BOP officials/employees regarding a transfer of inmates George Dunn, Kenya Wright (now at FCI La Tuna, Texas) and Donald Watkins from FCI Talladega to another BOP facility, from May 12, 2020 to the present.
10. BOP “in-transit” records for former FCI Talladega camp inmate Kenya Wright’s transfer from Talladega to FCI La Tuna, from May 1, 2020 through October 2020.
11. The SERO Administrative Remedies file relating to appeals taken by George Dunn and Donald Watkins from DHO S.D. Sawyer’s May 20, 2020 adverse ruling in Incident Report #3397708
12. The BOP Office of General Counsel/Litigation Branch’s file and notes regarding its December 4, 2020 receipt, review, and same-day summary rejection of Donald Watkins' 47-page Administrative Remedies Appeal from the adverse SERO ruling in Incident Report ##3397708.
13. A copy of the BOP’s Health Services/Pharmacy procedure for the confiscation of prescription medication for inmates who are “packed out” by BOP employees when they are removed from the general inmate population and placed in detention, effective as of April 27, 2020.
14. Any and all written disclosures to BOP by FCI Talladega officer Russell Overton’s regarding his 7/10/2014 bankruptcy petition in federal court in Birmingham.
15. The electronic record of “Account Transactions” for each and every inmate at FCI Talladega’s camp, from September 1, 2019 to November 23, 2020.
16. FCI Talladega’s Inmate Handbooks in effect from September 1, 2020 to November 23, 2020.
17. Any and all reports, memos, and/or notes regarding the complete lack of inmate searches for camp inmates who exited and re-entered the camp as they went to and from their work assignments in the Warden’s office and warehouse facilities at FCI Talladega.
18. Any and all records submitted by FCI Talladega employees that disclosed a familial relationship with FCI Talladega inmates, from September 1, 2019 to November 23, 2020.
19. Any and all BOP files and records on inmates in Det. Unit 2, Holdover Unit, J-section, USP Atlanta, from November 25, 2020 to the date of this Notice, including state inmates in the custody of USP Atlanta who are awaiting trial on federal changes.
20. Any and all emails from FCI Talladega inmates to the DOJ/BOP “COVID-19 Hotline” in May 2020.
21. Any and all correspondence, emails, and phone call records evidencing communications between FAUSA Lloyd Peeples (Birmingham) and Warden Cheron Y. Nash, SERO officials, and OGC officials, from April 14, 2020 to the present.
22. Any and all records of disclosure made by FCI Talladega Camp Unit Manager Lassiter regarding her receipt of free inmate labor for personal items made at her request, from September 1, 2020 to the date of this notice.
23. The PATTERN risk assessment score and custody classification sheet for Donald Watkins as of April 14, 2020.
24. Any and all documents relating to the “Home Confinement Agreement” executed between inmate Donald Watkins and FCI Talladega Camp Case Manager Nelson on April 14, 2020.
25. The FCI Talladega “Property Room Log” for each item of contraband cellular phones and devices held as evidence by the prison’s SIS Unit, as of Friday, May 8, 2020.
26. Security video of entrance to FCI Talladega’s Special Housing Unit (SHU), from noon to 4 p.m CST on April 27, 2020.
27. Security videos inside FCI Talladega’s SHU, from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. CST on April 30, 2020.
28. Any and all records of FCI Talladega inmate releases, from September 1, 2019 to November 13, 2020.
29. Any and all emails (with attachments) between Warden Cheron Y. Nash and SIS Unit Captain Sutton in March 2020.
30. Any and all records of FCI Talladega’s internal investigation into a May 3, 2020 report by inmate Donald Watkins that SIS Unit Lt. E. Vaughan proclaimed him a “POW” on April 27, 2020 and SHU officers chanted “Dead man walking, Dead man walking, Dead man walking” to Watkins as he exited the SHU on April 30, 2020.
This Notice should NOT be construed as a request to preserve agency records as part of the BOP’s Administrative Remedy’s process. Preservation of these records is sought to aid Congress in its legislative role. Inmate Watkins is exercising his First Amendment right to petition Congress for new “whistleblower” protection legislation. These agency records are relevant to the legislative process.
A courtesy copy of this pre-filing “Notice to Preserve Agency Records” will be transmitted to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees by Donald Watkins, along with his request for the enactment of new “whistleblower” protection legislation.
This Notice is published on www.donaldwatkins.com, an online, independent, non-commercial, media publication of nationwide circulation.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Donald V. Watkins
Inmate Reg. No. 36223-001
OIG “Whistleblower”, as of January 27, 2020
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