More charges, defendants added in prison drug smuggling case

Airway Heights Corrections Center
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SPOKANE, Wash. — Two more people now face charges and several additional counts have been filed in the case of an Airway Heights Corrections Officer, accused of smuggling drugs into the prison.

Michael Mattern, who worked at the prison for 20 years, was arrested in late July when federal investigators found him smuggling drugs into the prison in his lunch pail. They used recorded phone calls between a prisoner and a woman on the outside to help build their case against Mattern. Now, those two people have been indicted on federal charges as well.

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Brandy Lorentzen is accused of facilitating the operation from outside the prison. Joseph Owen Burnett was the offender inside the prison accused of running the operation from the inside.

The trio faces charges of conspiracy to distribute meth, heroin and suboxone; conspiracy to provide prohibited objects to an inmate of a prison; and attempting to obtain prohibited objects while being an inmate of a prison. The charges vary slightly based on the defendant.

Mattern, who was released from jail shortly after his arrest, had a court appearance Wednesday afternoon. His parents appeared via telephone to support him as he entered a not guilty plea.

As of this writing, Lorentzen has not been arrested.