United States Penitentiary, Hazelton
near Bruceton Mills, West Virginia
|Population||1,500 (150 in minimum-security prison camp; 700 in Secure Female Facility)|
|Opened||2004 (Secure Female Facility opened in 2006)|
|Managed by||Federal Bureau of Prisons|
The United States Penitentiary, Hazelton (USP Hazelton) is a high-security United States federal prison for male inmates in West Virginia. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility has a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male offenders, as well as a Secure Female Facility that houses female inmates. A new medium-security facility is under construction at the site, which will have a capacity of 1,152 male inmates when completed.
The facility is located in the mountains of Preston County, West Virginia, in the community of Bruceton Mills, and is approximately 35 minutes from Morgantown, WV, 45 minutes from Uniontown, PA, and 45 minutes from Cumberland, MD.
USP Hazelton was built due to an increasing need for modern facilities to house the growing number of federal inmates. The high security facility and the satellite minimum security prison camp cost $129 million to build and takes up 996 acres, and were designed by KZF Architectural Firm.
The 650,000-square-foot high-security facility, completed in 2004, contains six two-story buildings with 768 general housing cells and 120 "special housing cells" where especially dangerous prisoners are housed. In addition, there are several one- and two-story buildings which house various prison programs, as well as a factory where prisoners work. It is surrounded by a triple security fence with a taut wire system, and six guard towers around the perimeter.
The 27,000-square-foot minimum security Federal Prison Camp, also completed in 2004, is located outside the high security perimeter of the high-security facility. It consists of living units and prison program facilities and has a capacity of 128 inmates.
The 250,000-square-foot Secure Female Facility was completed in 2006 at a cost of $69 million. It contains two housing buildings which have a capacity of 512 inmates, as well as several program buildings which surround a courtyard area.
On October 7, 2007, inmate Jesse Harris was murdered at USP Hazelton. A long and complex investigation led to an October 2, 2012 indictment charging inmates Patrick Andrews and Kevin Bellinger with second-degree murder. Since both inmates were already serving life sentences, Andrews for two separate homicides in 1997 and 2000 and Bellinger for an attempted murder in 2007, they were also charged with murder by a federal prisoner serving a life sentence. William J. Ihlenfeld, II, the US Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, announced that the Department of Justice will seek the death penalty against Andrews if he is convicted.
On December 6, 2009, inmate Jimmy Lee Wilson was killed during a fight involving at least five other inmates. Five other inmates were injured during the fight, which was reportedly racially motivated, were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The facility was placed on lockdown and remained on lockdown for over a month after the incident until prison officials were reasonably certain that there were no further threats to the safety of staff and inmates. Wilson, 25, was serving an 11-year sentence for an armed robbery in Maine. Wilson's killing remains under investigation.
In January 2012, USP Hazelton inmate Gerrod Thompson pleaded guilty to escape. Thompson, who was serving a 120-month sentence at the minimum-security prison camp, admitted that he commandeered a Bureau of Prisons truck on February 12, 2011 and drove it out of the camp to visit his wife. Thompson was apprehended later that day. He was sentenced to three additional months of incarceration.
Notable Inmates (current and former)
|Inmate Name||Register Number||Status||Details|
|Danilo Velasquez||14341-111||Serving a life sentence.||Former leader of the San Francisco branch of MS-13, a violent international street gang which engages in murder, assault, drug trafficking, theft and extortion; convicted in 2011 of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder.|
|Joaquin Valencia-Trujillo||02440-748||Serving a 40-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2037.||Former leader of the Cali Cartel in Colombia; extradited to the US in 2004; convicted in 2006 of drug trafficking conspiracy for directing the shipment of more than 100 tons of cocaine a year into the US over a ten-year period.|
|Ali Abdi Mohamed||77997-083||Serving a life sentence.||Somali pirate; pleaded guilty in 2011 to piracy for hijacking the civilian yacht Quest and taking hostages for ransom in 2010. Four hostages were killed during the incident. Ten co-defendants are serving life sentences at other federal facilities.|
|Douglas Wright||57973-060||Serving an 11-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2022.||Anarchist; pleaded guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for masterminding a plot to use explosives to destroy the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge in Ohio; three co-conspirators were also sentenced to prison.|
Secure Female Facility
|Inmate Name||Register Number||Status||Details|
|Hawo Mohamed Hassan||15353-041||Serving a 10-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2022.||Naturalized US citizen from Somalia; convicted in 2011 of providing material support for terrorism for soliciting donations in the name of charity, then funneling the funds to the Somali terrorist organization Al-Shaabab.|
|Karla Chávez-Joya||16082-179||Serving a 17-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2018.||Pleaded guilty to harboring illegal immigrants in connection with the 2003 deaths of 19 people who suffocated in a truck while being driven into Texas from Mexico, the most deadly incident in the history of human smuggling across the US-Mexico Border.|
|Stephanie Schwab||79431-083||Serving an 11-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2021.||Former MS-13 gang member; pleaded guilty in 2012 to engaging in a 13-day crime-spree in Virginia and Maryland in 2011, during which she committed multiple bank robberies and carjackings, as well as participating in a major heroin distribution ring; known as the "Blonde Bandit."|
|Harriette Walters||29155-016||Serving a 17-year sentence; scheduled for release in 2023.||Former tax manager for the Washington, DC City Treasury; pleaded guilty in 2008 to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion for issuing $48 million in false tax refunds to herself and several co-conspirators in the largest and longest-running embezzlement scheme in the city’s history.|
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- United States Penitentiary, Hazelton-Official