Prison guard faces charges

Hockenberry allegedly conspired to smuggle cellphones to inmates

An Altoona man faces charges that he conspired to smuggle cellphones to inmates while working as a state prison guard in Huntingdon County.

Zachary Hockenberry, 31, of 615 Second Ave., is due in district court in Huntingdon on Wednesday for his preliminary hearing on a felony charge of criminal use of a communication facility and a misdemeanor contraband charge filed by state Department of Corrections investigators who contend Hockenberry offered to supply inmates at SCI Huntingdon with cellphones.

According to the charges, two inmates told investigators that Hockenberry gave them his cellphone number and told them he could get them a cellphone if they wired him money via Western Union. He told one inmate it would cost $500 and the other was told $350.

Investigators said that Hockenberry approached the inmates in November and January.

Investigators sent a text message to Hockenberry’s cellphone on Jan. 24, and during the exchange of texts, Hockenberry allegedly gave directions for wiring him the money.

In the conversation with the DOC agent, Hockenberry allegedly said he would “introduce ‘Jacks'” — meaning cellphones — into the prison and that the “whole package” would cost “a stack” — meaning $1,000. Hockenberry said he could supply a cellphone on two different occasions for $500 each, investigators noted in the charges.

Hockenberry remains free on an unsecured $15,000 bond.