A Tracy man was charged with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud using interstate wires in federal court on Wednesday as part of a scheme to smuggle cell phones into the death row cellblock of San Quentin State Prison in Marin County.

In a new release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of California, Isaiah Wells, 32, of Tracy and Keith Christopher, 37, of Pittsburgh appeared in federal court in San Francisco on Wednesday to face the fraud charges. A third co-defendant, Tanisa Smith-Symes, 45, of Las Vegas was scheduled to appear in a Las Vegas federal court on Thursday.

A complaint filed against the three alleges they all conspired to smuggle cell phones into San Quentin’s East Block where inmates condemned to death are housed.

According to the complaint, Smith-Symes had a relationship with a death row inmate who she conspired with to obtain cell phones, which were shipped to Wells. Wells then gave the phones to Christopher, who was a corrections officer at the prison.

Christopher smuggled the phones into the prison to the inmate working with Smith-Symes.

The complaint says the conspirators smuggled 25 cell phones into the prison cell block, where the inmate sold them for up to $900 each.

The bribery payments for the phones were sent to Christopher through Wells and others he had designated to receive the money.

Christopher allegedly charged $500 for each phone he smuggled into the prison.

The complaint filed in federal court charges Christopher, Wells and Smith-Symes with one count each of conspiracy to commit honest service fraud using interstate wires and face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Christopher and Wells were released on bond and are scheduled to appear in federal court again next Friday.

• Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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