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3 inmates face federal smuggling charges

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Three Utah State Prison inmates are facing federal charges for their alleged role in a bribery and smuggling scheme that resulted in a gun being secretly carried into the Draper prison last year.

Indictments filed Thursday in U.S. District Court charge each of the men with single counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aiding and abetting. Each of the three — Paul Donald Kimball, Clifford Warren Perry and Paul Wayne Trimble — will be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison if convicted, according to a press release from Melodie Rydalch, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The gun was discovered hidden between the walls of a prison hallway on Dec. 4, 2003. Prosecutors believe the three men were in possession of the .32 caliber revolver after it was allegedly smuggled into the facility inside a portable printer.

The discovery of the gun effectively halted a six-month smuggling scheme to bring contraband like tobacco, cell phones and other electronic devices into the prison.

Former state corrections officer Larry Van Cox is accused of accepting more than $11,000 in bribes to bring the items into the prison. He faces multiple state court felony charges of receiving or soliciting a bribe by a public servant, providing contraband to an offender, and one felony count of money laundering. He was fired from his job at Point of the Mountain last month on the same day he was arrested.

Former inmate Donald Anderson is also facing federal charges for allegedly possessing the .32-caliber weapon just days before Cox carried it into the prison. Anderson is believed to be part of the group outside the prison that conspired to carry out the plot.

As of Friday, no court date had been set for Kimball, Perry and Trimble, Rydalch said.

Kimball has been in and out of the state prison since 1991 and has been convicted of felony drug charges, aggravated burglary and aggravated sexual assault, corrections spokesman Jack Ford said.

Perry, who is currently serving time for a 1993 felony aggravated kidnapping, was first incarcerated in Utah in 1987, Ford said. He had also been convicted of two felony theft charges and once went AWOL from parole for nearly a year before being found in North Carolina.

Once a fugitive wanted for 17 counts of burglary out of Louisiana, Trimble has been in the Utah prison system since 2000 after convictions for felony aggravated robbery, escape and failing to stop on the command of police officer, Ford said.

If convicted, the three men could be transferred to federal prison, or could be placed on a federal hold but remain incarcerated at Point of the Mountain, Ford said.

E-mail: jdobner@desnews.com