Ex-CA prison commissary contractor gets 130 months for mailing drugs, contraband to imprisoned Aryan Brotherhood members

Justin Petty, 41, was sentenced to 130 months in federal prison on Oct. 16, 2023. (Eastern District California Court Records)
Justin Petty, 41, was sentenced to 130 months in federal prison on Oct. 16, 2023. (Eastern District California Court Records)

SACRAMENTO — A Los Angeles man who worked at a company that shipped packages to California prisoners has been sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in prison for using his job to ship drugs, saw blades, cellphones, and other contraband to Aryan Brotherhood members on the inside.

Justin Petty, 41, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, who also ordered Petty to undergo five years of supervised release after his prison term. Petty pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.

Prosecutors say that in 2016, Petty concealed drugs, lighters, grinding stones, cellphones, screwdrivers, and electronics inside seemingly legitimate commissary packages containing fudge brownies and Oatmeal Creme Pies. Authorities later learned Petty was working with Aryan Brotherhood members in High Desert and Sacramento prisons.

The crimes were discovered in part thanks to a wiretap operation aimed at the Aryan Brotherhood’s leadership. The result of the wiretap came in 2019, when two dozen Aryan Brotherhood members and associates, including Petty, were charged with racketeering and other serious offenses. Unlike Petty, who faced only drug conspiracy charges, several of the defendants face multiple murder conspiracy counts, making them eligible for death sentences, though federal prosecutors still haven’t decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

Petty’s attorney argued in a sentencing brief that Petty struggled during his youth with being an “unsupervised youth with no male figure in his life,” and that he became “doomed by drug addiction.”

“By the age of 12, Mr. Petty was drinking and smoking marijuana. By age 13, Mr. Petty was using methamphetamine and graduating to cocaine and heroin,” lawyer Dina Santos wrote in court papers. After prison, Santos added, Petty plans to move out of California to be with family and stay “away from his old life and his old ways.”

Santos added that while he was incarcerated at the Nevada County Jail — where Petty was transferred after a co-defendant found evidence Sacramento jail staff were illegally recording attorney/client visits in the Sacramento jail — Petty “completed 72 courses of education, has earned over 35 certificates, and has grown even more talented in his art skills.”

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