MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A United States District Judge sentenced a Wilmer man to 92 months in prison for “conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and providing contraband to a federal prisoner,” according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Alabama.

John Robert Payne, of Wilmer, previously pled guilty to the offenses. The DOJ did not offer additional details in reference to when Payne pled guilty.

Documents filed to the court “established that investigators with the Yazoo City Federal Correctional Complex (YCFCC) in Mississippi,” discovered Payne mailed two letters on two different dated to inmates at the prison.

According to the release, the envelopes contained 34 Suboxone (Buprenorphine) strips. Suboxone is “a prescription medicine used to treat opioid addiction in adults and is part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy,” according to

The first letter was mailed on Aug. 31, 2021, and the second on Sept. 21, 2021. The release said the first letter contained 20 strips of Suboxone hidden between two pictures. The second letter contained 14 strips of Suboxone hidden between a picture in a Walmart receipt. The release said the letters were sent to different inmates.

“Suboxone (Buprenorphine) is a schedule III synthetic opioid,” reads the release.

Through the investigation, a recorded phone call was recovered between Payne and an inmate at YCFCC in “which Payne and the inmate discuss a letter that Payne sent into the prison.”

During the conversation, Payne talked about drugs and drug usage at YCFCC with the inmate. Pane was on supervised release with the federal probation office, “after serving a federal prison term for possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.”

This case was investigated by YCFCC, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security.