Ex-jail worker gets 6 years in prison for extorting inmates

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SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – A former county jail employee in northeastern Pennsylvania who extorted money and drugs from inmates in return for special privileges has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Louis Elmy, 52, of Wilkes-Barre, was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Scranton. The former Luzerne County guard and work release counselor pleaded guilty in July to extortion and to possessing a gun during drug deals.

Elmy traded three weapons, including two sawed-off shotguns, to some of the inmates in exchange for drugs. The weapons have never been recovered. He also possessed a handgun while dealing crack cocaine during the scheme, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Olshefski told the judge.

At his sentencing, Elmy expressed relief that he’d been caught, saying it enabled him to get drug treatment and counseling.

“He became addicted to drugs. I took over his life,” defense attorney Ingrid Cronin told the judge.

U.S. District Judge Malachy Mannion noted that Elmy wasn’t a typical drug dealer and said it was “heartbreaking” he even wound up trading in his college rings for drugs.

A second former jail employee is to be sentenced April 27.

John Stachokus, 42, of Plains Township, pleaded guilty in September to extortion and witness tampering charges. He acknowledged taking money and alcohol from an inmate who was serving a work-release sentence and employed by a real estate firm. The inmate had financial problems and needed furloughs so he could work to provide for his family, and Stachokus allegedly demanded the cash and alcohol to help arrange the furloughs.

Over a period from November 2013 through February 2016, other inmates also paid Stachokus for similar illegal privileges through the inmate, who has been cooperating with authorities and also helped Stachokus obtain cocaine, according to the prosecution.

Authorities say Stachokus tampered with a witness by trying to get that person to fabricate an explanation for the illegal furloughs when the witness was interviewed by investigators in May.

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