On Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, in Minneapolis, Faith Rose Gratz pleaded guilty before US District Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of conspiring to deliver methamphetamine inside the maximum security Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater. Coffee or Die Magazine composite.
A Minnesota correctional officer who fell for an inmate is now a convicted drug dealer.
On Wednesday, Sept. 7, in Minneapolis, Faith Rose Gratz pleaded guilty before US District Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of conspiring to deliver methamphetamine inside the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater.
In exchange for her plea, federal prosecutors tossed one count of meth dealing. No sentencing date has appeared on the federal docket, but Gratz, 24, could spend the rest of her life behind bars.
The prisoner who investigators said wooed her with a wedding proposal, 35-year-old convicted murderer Axel Rene Kramer, was charged with the same crimes. Still serving a 24-year stretch, Kramer has pleaded not guilty.
It all began to fall apart for Gratz on April 8, 2022, when law enforcement officers confronted her shortly before she began her shift at the penitentiary.
Convicted murderer Axel Rene Kramer, 35, is a dozen years into a 24-year stretch. Accused of distributed methamphetamine inside the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater, he's been moved to a similar penitentiary in Oak Park Heights. Coffee or Die Magazine composite.
Authorities said they found nearly a quarter of a kilogram of meth hidden in her car four days after she'd retrieved it from a dealer in a gas station parking lot.
Investigators suspect Gratz had been smuggling meth and cell phones into the prison for four months. The phones helped Kramer to allegedly build a drug distribution web inside the prison, communicating with both inmates and associates outside the facility.
They said Gratz’s number was saved as “Bbygirl” on Kramer’s phone. They alleged she would warn her boyfriend about looming prison inspections, but they uncovered one of his phones on April 8, leading them to Gratz.
She was released from custody without bail on July 27.
Attorneys representing Gratz and Kramer did not respond to Coffee or Die Magazine's requests for comment. A person who answered Gratz’s listed telephone number also declined comment on her behalf.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
Roy Matthews is a guest contributor to Coffee or Die Magazine.
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