- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana State Prison inmate, a former inmate and a former prison laundry worker have been arraigned on federal drug distribution charges that prosecutors say came to light during an investigation into drug smuggling at the prison in Deer Lodge.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says inmate Ian Scott Barclay, probationer Cordero Robert Metzker of Billings and Erin Marie Bernhardt of Deer Lodge pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court in Missoula to conspiracy to possess drugs with intent to distribute and possession of methamphetamine and Suboxone with intent to distribute. Suboxone is used to treat narcotic addiction, but it can be addictive itself.

Barclay, 28, is charged with bribing Bernhardt, 48, and she is charged with accepting bribes. They denied those charges, as well.

It’s not clear if the cases are related to charges recently filed against a state prison guard. Martin Reap pleaded not guilty on May 19 to charges that he smuggled meth and marijuana into the prison from February 2015 until April of this year in exchange for about $5,000. The indictment against Reap alleges he conspired with unnamed inmates to bring drugs into the prison.

Metzker’s attorney, Colin Stephens of Missoula, said the indictment naming Barclay, Metzker and Bernhardt will remain sealed until all the defendants appear in court.

State records show Barclay was convicted of drug possession in Missoula County in 2008 and sentenced to the Department of Corrections in 2012 for a probation violation. He escaped from a Billings prerelease center in December 2014 and has been in prison since then. The Associated Press couldn’t immediately reach his attorney.

Metzker served his prison time between December 2011 and August 2012 and is on probation for drug possession and distribution convictions in Missoula and Gallatin counties.

The state Transparency in Government website shows Bernhardt worked in the prison laundry for several years, ending some time in 2015. Her attorney, Wendy Holton, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

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