Stillwater inmate pleads guilty to prison meth distribution conspiracy

The inmate conspired with a corrections officer to distribute drugs inside the prison.

Axel Rene Kramer/Sherburne County Jail

A Stillwater correctional facility inmate has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with a corrections officer to distribute methamphetamine inside the Stillwater, Minn., prison.

The guilty plea by 36-year-old Axel Rene Kramer was announced this week by U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger.

According to court documents, Kramer, an inmate who is currently serving a 288-month sentence for second-degree murder, conspired with Faith Rose Gratz, 26, a former Minnesota Correctional Facility (MCF-Stillwater) corrections officer, to distribute methamphetamine within MCF-Stillwater, Minnesota’s largest high security prison facility.

Faith Rose Gratz

As part of the conspiracy, Kramer obtained wholesale quantities of prepackaged methamphetamine from sources of supply outside the prison. After Kramer and another co-conspirator inmate worked with the drug suppliers to arrange meet up times and locations, Gratz would pick up the drug packages. Gratz used her position as a prison guard to smuggle the drugs into the secure facility and then provide the drugs to Kramer while she was on duty guarding him. Gratz did this on approximately six different occasions. Gratz also smuggled into the prison multiple cellphones that she provided to Kramer. Kramer used the cellphones to communicate with people inside and outside the prison and to facilitate his drug distribution network from within the prison.

Kramer and Gratz exchanged hundreds of text messages with each other, court documents say. The messages included communications about the drug distribution conspiracy as well as discussions about their romantic relationship. Gratz also warned Kramer about upcoming searches of inmates’ cells.

Kramer pleaded guilty on Jan. 5, 2024, in U.S. District Court before Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Gratz pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm.

Sentencing hearings are not yet scheduled for either defendant.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.

 

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.