CLEARFIELD – A former employee of the state prison in Houtzdale who pleaded guilty Monday in Clearfield County Court for his part in a drug scheme was sentenced to serve time in state prison himself.
Neil Johnathan Rudy, 42, of Altoona, a food service instructor, was charged by agents of the PA Department of Corrections with felony dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and criminal use of communication facility in connection to his activities at the prison in September of 2022.
The charges stem from a deal he made with an inmate to bring suboxone into the facility. At the preliminary hearing stage, the dealing in proceeds charge was withdrawn.
Prior to sentencing on Monday, Rudy admitted he “made a bad decision” but said he was not a bad person. He took full responsibility and apologized.
Rudy had expected to be serving his minimum 90-day sentence at a county jail and was hoping to arrange his incarceration at the Blair County Jail where he could apply for the work release program.
Instead, President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced him to 90 days to three years in state prison for the criminal use of communication facility charge.
Ammerman commented that this was a “very serious matter” and couldn’t believe Rudy didn’t have multiple charges.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, security at the prison received reports from multiple people concerning Rudy “introducing contraband into the facility.” One of these informants reported that the operation involved Rudy and a network of multiple inmates.
This reportedly included Rudy supplying a quantity of Suboxone and synthetic cannabinoids, or K2, into the prison for $10,500. Initially he was paid $5,000 and the rest would come from the proceeds of the sales.
Reportedly the K2 was “not a good batch” and did not give the desired effect to inmates. Rudy did not receive full payment and then refused to bring in anything else until he was paid in full.
Agents used this issue to make contact with Rudy through a number supplied by an inmate, to “provide” him with the money owed.
Rudy and an agent talked a few times before setting up a meeting for Rudy to receive the funds from the official, posing as a civilian.
On Sept. 20, 2022, they reportedly met at a parking lot in Altoona where Rudy was given an envelope with $5,000. After this, other agents blocked his vehicle from leaving and he was taken into custody.
In his interview with investigators, Rudy explained that he was talking about financial problems when an inmate agreed to give him money. Previously the two had discussed getting Suboxone into the prison.
The deal was for him to provide the drugs once a month, but Rudy wanted it to be “a one time thing.”
Rudy told the agents he had “introduced 100 strips of Suboxone, wrapped in a blue rubber glove, balloon that he obtained from an individual from State College.”