A Tennessee prison inmate pleaded not guilty to allegations that he escaped and attempted to sneak back in with a hoard of goods to sell on the prison's black market.
Robert Fusco, along with several others, was indicted on a contraband scheme earlier this month, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Two former correctional officers are among those accused of participating in the plot.
On Jan. 5, Fusco escaped from Morgan County Correctional Complex, a minimum security prison, according to the indictment.
What's the story?
Two days after Fusco escaped, the 37-year-old allegedly attempted to smuggle drugs, cellphones, and tobacco back into the facility.
Authorities caught him on Jan. 7 while he was trying sneak back inside the prison's walls.
Neither the prosecutors or the Tennessee Department of Corrections has disclosed how Fusco escaped.
He appeared in court briefly on Tuesday where pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Who were the others charged?
Fusco's former cellmate, Jarrett Tolley, 30, who now identifies as Alyssa Tolley, has been accused of smuggling hacksaw blades into the prison as part of the scheme, the newspaper reported. Tolley was on probation at the time.
Three other inmates, William Richard, 68, Cecil Kendall, 35, and Ethan Self, 26, were also charged with aiding Fusco in the conspiracy.
Two former correctional officers, Josh Sexton and Megan Cheryl Jones, were also charged in the plot.
Sexton, 34, allegedly smuggled items under his groin, the newspaper reported. He served as a past president of the local correctional officers' union.
Jones, 29, was charged with smuggling cellphones into prison and tampering with evidence. She's also accused of having sexual contact with Fusco, the indictment said.
A former contractor at the prison, Elizabeth England, 30, was also charged in the conspiracy.
Shawn Phillips, the warden of the Morgan County prison at the time, transferred to a new post.
Fusco is now being held as a maximum-security inmate and his case is set for Feb. 4.