Box Elder man, Franklin Troy Caplette sentenced for scheme to smuggle meth into Cascade County jail
GREAT FALLS (STL.News) A Box Elder man who admitted his role in scheme to smuggle methamphetamine into the Cascade County Detention Center by having inmates hide the drug inside their bodies was sentenced to 42 months in prison and to three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif Johnson said.
Franklin Troy Caplette, 36, pleaded guilty on Oct. 22, 2020 to possession with intent to distribute meth.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
The prosecution said in court documents that in May 2019, while Caplette was incarcerated at the Cascade County Detention Center, detectives began to investigate a drug smuggling scheme. Caplette arranged for people outside of the jail to bond out inmates, provide the defendants with drugs to conceal in their rectums and have the defendants smuggle the drugs back into the jail.
When defendants returned to the jail, they told detention officers who their enemies were at the jail so they could get placed into the right pod to distribute the drugs.
In June 2019, a judge temporarily released Caplette to attend a relative’s funeral on the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation and directed him to return by 5 p.m. the next day.
While on release, Caplette spoke by cell phone with jail inmates and told one inmate he was “coming in hot.” Detectives waited at the jail for Caplette, who arrived late. While Caplette went to the booking area, Caplette’s wife told detectives that they never made it to the funeral and instead went to other places before returning to Great Falls.
Detectives served a warrant on Caplette to search his body for drugs and took him to an emergency room for an x-ray. The x-ray showed three oblong-shaped objects in Caplette’s abdomen. Caplette eventually passed the bags. An analysis determined that one of the bags contained meth, while two of the bags contained tobacco.
Other inmates told detectives that Caplette was in charge of contraband entering the jail and that he would use young inmates to be runners to bring back drugs into jail, where they would have parties at night.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Betley prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Russell Country Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Great Falls Police Department and Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, violent crime in Montana increased by 36% from 2013 to 2018. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.