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Convicted Murderer Sentenced to Over 15 Years in Federal Prison for Role in Prison-Based Drug Smuggling Ring that Involved Prison Cook

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          LOS ANGELES – A convicted murderer serving a life sentence in California state prison was sentenced today to 188 months in federal prison for his involvement in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that smuggled narcotics into the prison with the help of the prison’s then-cook and others.

          Lamont Devault, 49, a.k.a. “Mont,” was sentenced by United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner. Devault’s federal prison sentence will begin if he is paroled from his state prison term, which began in 2002. He will be eligible for parole from state prison in March 2031, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

          After a three-day trial in February, a federal jury found Devault guilty of three felonies: conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute heroin.

          According to the evidence presented at trial, Devault was an inmate at Centinela State Prison in Imperial County in 2017. Devault recruited his son, co-defendant Lamont Devault II, 26, of Long Beach, to obtain narcotics outside the prison supplied by an associate of another inmate, co-defendant Steve Bencom, 39, a.k.a. “Risky” and “Risky Business,” of East Los Angeles. Devault’s son then supplied the drugs to co-defendant and then-prison cook Lance Medina, 33, a.k.a. “Droop,” of El Centro, so that Medina could smuggle the drugs into the prison by concealing them in his underwear.

          Devault, who coordinated the conspiracy by using a contraband cell phone in prison, then oversaw the distribution of those drugs within the prison through other inmates, including co-defendant Deandre McIntosh, 43, a.k.a. “Casper D,” of Long Beach.

          In November 2017, Medina was caught smuggling nearly 54 grams of methamphetamine into the prison. Medina had another 131 grams of methamphetamine and 91 grams of heroin at his home that he was planning to smuggle into the prison at Devault’s direction.

          Devault concealed the conspiracy’s illicit financial gains with the help of co-defendant LaShawn Anderson, 50, of Downey, then a civilian employee of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

          On January 27, Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering. In her plea agreement, Anderson admitted that she conspired with Devault and others to launder the illicit proceeds. Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 3, at which time she will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

          Bencom pleaded guilty on January 22 to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, consecutive to his state sentence, which he is serving for a robbery conviction.

          McIntosh was found guilty at trial alongside Devault of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and awaits a July 20 sentencing hearing, at which time he will face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment.

          The other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty to federal charges and will be sentenced in the coming months.

          This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, and was conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provided assistance.

          This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Puneet V. Kakkar and Benedetto L. Balding of the International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section.

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