A Charles Manson follower was arrested this week after allegedly attempting to smuggle a phone into the California prison where the infamous cult leader is housed.
Craig Carlisle Hammond, a longtime Manson follower, is accused of attempting to smuggle a wristwatch cellphone to the convicted killer at Corcoran State Prison on Sunday. Hammond, a 63-year-old retiree, reportedly visits Manson on a regular basis.
According to authorities, a corrections officer at the prison noticed Hammond in possession of the smuggled phone in an area where such devices are prohibited.
Following a subsequent search, Hammond was reportedly arrested and transported to a jail in King County. He was released several hours later after posting $30,000 bond.
Hammond, who was allegedly given the moniker “Gray Wolf” by Manson, is one of the cult leader’s few regular visitors. He reportedly retains control over Manson’s copyrighted music.
According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the self-proclaimed Manson follower is now scheduled to appear in court in April to face a felony charge of conspiracy.
Hammond has also been charged with two misdemeanors: Attempting to bring a cellphone into a prison and possession of an illegal communication device.
Surprisingly, this is not the first time Charles Manson — now 78-years-old — has been allegedly connected to a smuggled phone plot. While serving a life sentence for his role in the notorious 1969 Tate-Bianca murder spree, he has reportedly been caught twice with communication-related contraband.
In 2009, authorities recovered a smuggled cellphone from under Manson’s prison bunk. Before the phone was discovered, the cult leader reportedly made calls to New Jersey, California, and Florida. Two years later, a second cellphone was discovered in Manson’s possession.
If Hammond is found guilty of the charges stemming from his alleged attempt to smuggle a phone to Manson, he could face a substantial fine and up to six months behind bars on the misdemeanors alone.
According to Terry Thornton, a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, smuggled phones can become dangerous contraband in the hands of convicted inmates:
“Phones are a threat because there’s ample evidence they’re used to commit additional crimes — to coordinate escapes, run drug-trafficking operations, order hits, intimidate witnesses and extort,” Thornton told The New York Daily News. “It’s a problem that we take very seriously.”
Are you surprised that a Charles Manson follower would attempt to smuggle a phone to the convicted murderer?
[Top and bottom images via Wikipedia]