Article Comment 

Local guards for private firm at center of prisoner escape


Dispatch Staff Report



Two Golden Triangle men working for the Columbus company North Atlantic Extradition were at the center of a national manhunt this week, when a murder suspect stole their prisoner transport van Wednesday morning. 


The suspect, Justin Patrick Welch, was captured in Oklahoma on Thursday. 


The incident began when Welch, 26, and four other inmates were escorted to the bathroom at a Van Buren, Ark., rest area, according to a report on the Web site of the television show "America''s Most Wanted." 


At some point during the stop, Lt. Brent Grill with the Van Buren Police Department said, Welch got his hands on a screwdriver-like tool, similar to the kind found in tire-plugging kits, AMW reported.  


According to reports, Welch then stabbed one of the guards in the hand. Welch then allegedly beat the guard over the head and grabbed his gun -- a standard-issue .40-caliber Glock. 


Welch is said to have run back into the bathroom and robbed a trucker occupying one of the bathroom stalls. Welch tried to get his wallet and cell phone, but according to Grill, he was only able to get away with the trucker''s jacket. 


Welch then forced one of the other inmates at gunpoint to cuff the trucker to the stall. He gained control of the transport van from a guard, firing at the guard as he fled the van. No rounds struck the guard. 


According to reports, Welch sped off, leaving the four other inmates handcuffed in the bathroom, along with the injured guard. 


Welch was arrested on I-40 near Sallisaw, Okla., just inside the state line, about 15 miles west of where he escaped. 


According to AMW, Welch was apprehended Thursday afternoon. More information on the guards'' identities and condition was not available at press time. 


In addition to murder charges in Wisconsin for a brutal October 2009 murder, he now also faces charges in Arkansas for escape, aggravated robbery, attempted capital murder, kidnapping, battery and theft of property. 


Welch faces murder charges for the alleged murder-for-hire stabbing a Wisconsin woman to death on Oct. 1, 2009. 


Welch remained a fugitive for six weeks until authorities caught him at the Mexico-California border near San Diego on Nov. 18, 2009. 


Welch remained in the San Diego County Jail until Jan. 10, when he was put in the custody of the North Atlantic Extradition Services, to be transported to Wisconsin to face prosecution for the murder of 39-year-old Kim Smith. 


According to police in Oconomowoc, Wis., Welch was paid by Kim''s ex-boyfriend to kill her after a bitter custody dispute surrounding their 4-year-old son. 


Kim was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife. 


North Atlantic Extradition employs about 35 guards, who are trained through a partnership with the Starkville Police Department. The local company is owned by Tony Mulligan, retired Lowndes County Sheriff''s Office chief deputy. 


North Atlantic Security, a private security company, which operates under the same umbrella corporation as North Atlantic Extradition, is housed in the same building and handles security for Lowdnes County School District and other entities.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Ex_Ga._Prison Guard commented at 1/15/2010 5:54:00 PM:

Yeah..Well who were the 2 guards?..How in the world do you let a prisoner get the best of you when you are not at an institution or somewhere where you have help..I bet the guard was just too complacent and probably wasn't even experienced being around inmates because you never let your guard down..Especially during a transport.A guards number 1 job is to protect the public from scum like this.


Article Comment Somebody commented at 1/16/2010 4:06:00 PM:

LOL! ya right.... trained by Starkville Police department. Who's telling this story? Not trained underpaid and overworked. Ask the employees what kind of training the have had. They have NONE! that's why this happened. The only training the have had is with the DMV and that is when they studied to get there Drivers Lic. back when they were 16. Most of them don't even know how to put the bullet in the gun let alone point it and shoot it.
Take a look at there vehicles.... How the $#%$ did they pass MS inspection???? Why are they even on the road.
LOL! I swear drive by and take a look.


Article Comment somebody commented at 1/16/2010 4:21:00 PM:

Take and search under Van Buren Escape video, and you can see how well trained these guys are. They dont have the assualt but they do have the video of the rest area.


Article Comment yeahright commented at 1/17/2010 11:21:00 AM:

As a former employee of NAES and Tony Mulligan, I can tell you there is NO training for these guards. Each van has 2 guards sent out for a minimum of 5 days at a time, with as many as 8 prisoners. He does not provide hotels for the guards and they are forced to sleep IN THE VAN WITH THE PRISONERS! They sometimes alternate driving 24hrs a day, so 1 guard sleeps while the other drives. They are told "if they have to stop and get a hotel", it comes out of their own pockets so they are discouraged from doing this. Also the press reported that the guard that was attacked was suspended for not following the policy of only allowing prisoners to go to the restroom at jail facilities, this policy is not taught.
The guards are paid less than $3 per hour if they stay on the road for the full five days they are away from home. Tony Mulligan should have to answer to the wage and labor board before more of his overworked, not trained, underpaid guards are injured or killed due to his greed.


Article Comment 4_ure_infor commented at 1/17/2010 7:30:00 PM:

Their vehicles are fine other than wear and tear from putting so many miles on them. Of course the vehicles r gonna have mechanical problems just like any other vehicle that is driven. They are not gonna be in perfect condition. And to YEAHRIGHT u darn good and well Tony does not pay them less than $3 an hour. He pays u while u are sleepin in a motel. He pays u while u are eating. He pays u while u are riding and sleeping. It is a base pay so its not by the hour. evidently u didnt realize it. If u didnt want to be away from home u shouldnt have taken the job. And to Ex_GA_prisonguard: ure right he shouldnt have let his guard down and he made a huge mistake that almost cost him his life. Even guards who are TRAINED with the most intense training still make mistakes and have had escapes or fights or whatever. Luckily he is still alive to learn from this mistake and maybe others will learn from it to. He is only HUMAN AND WE HUMANS MAKE MISTAKES... thanks


Article Comment Slate commented at 1/18/2010 3:29:00 AM:

Man...... I do not believe i just read this!
You must have spent too much time in the back of one of those vans bro suckin up the exhaust. LOL or you have your head up Tony's #$$ so deep you have lost your sense of reality!
The Vehicles.... dare you to take a ride to CO in one.
And pay.... well if you spent more time doing inteligent research instead of kissing @$$ you would know that MS does not haved a wage and Labor statue so, Idiot it falls under Federal... peice work is ok as long as it does not fall below minimum wage...
You guys will see soon!
But employees.. You guys need to have your own meeting. PUT YOUR HEADS together and fix the problems in the company. You guys know whats wrong .... this could have happened to you, but maybe with more of a deadly ending.
He can not run a company with only one employee. You guys have the power to change the way the company is ran. Saftey and Security should be #1 on the list, then paying you what you are worth. What $3.00 an hour?
Peace out guys and Drive safe!!!


Article Comment slate commented at 1/18/2010 11:36:00 AM:

This is what Wage and Hour Sent to me. :)
Thank you for contacting the U.S. Department of Labor National Contact Center.

Employees can be paid in a variety of ways including a salary, hourly, piece rate, or commission basis. There is no requirement under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that an employee be paid in a certain manner. While earnings may be determined in a variety of ways, employees must earn at least the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and be paid no less than one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

There are additional issues relating to being paid on a piece rate or commission basis. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) enforces these regulations and provides additional information on the FLSA.

If you believe back wages are owed to you by your current or former employer, please contact your local Wage and Hour office for further assistance.

Please visit their website at for additional information.

The office to best answer your questions about Piece Rate and Back Wages is the Birmingham AL - WHD - District Office. You may contact this office at (205) 397-7100. When calling listen carefully to all of the options in order to make the appropriate selection and make note of the dates and times you attempted to call the office. If you are unable to reach a representative or have not received a return call within 2 business days, please contact us in order to forward your information to your local office.

Thank you,

The U.S. Department of Labor National Contact Center

Disclaimer: "This response is for information purposes only and does not constitute an official communication of the U.S. Department of Labor. For an official response, please write: U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC 20210."


:) Drivers get ready!


Article Comment didi commented at 4/14/2010 8:26:00 AM:



Article Comment puddin commented at 8/1/2010 2:29:00 AM:

Hi DiDi, you were transported from Florida? Can you contact me? I have a family member who wants to possibly file a lawsuit against the transport company. Where were you housed? Did they keep you in the van for several days in a row?
Thanks that's my e-mail or respond on here with yours. Thanks DiDi


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