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2 Rikers Officers Charged With Dealing Drugs to Inmates

The correction officers are accused of smuggling drugs into a maximum-security wing on Rikers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Austin Phillips (left) and Austin Romain (right)

    Two New York City correction officers have been arrested after investigators said they were caught dealing drugs to inmates.

    Austin Romain and Khalif Phillips, both 31, were arrested by police and federal drug enforcement agents as they arrived for their 3 p.m. roll call at Rikers Island Monday.

    The pair are accused of smuggling drugs into a maximum-security wing on Rikers.

    Officials said they also delivered scalpels to inmates for use as weapons.

    Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said the two officers "subverted jail safety and made their fellow officers' jobs more difficult and dangerous."

    Romain has been a correction officer since 2007, and Phillips has been on the job since 2006, according to authorities.

    Investigators said the drug orders would be made when prisoners made contact with wives or girlfriends, who would then contact the officers about their marijuana orders.

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, "We will not tolerate misuse of authority by those entrusted with supervising incarcerated individuals and keeping them safe."

    Officials said 30 correction department employees have been arrested smuggling in contraband over the last decade.

    If convicted, the officers in this case could face up to 10 years in prison. They are expected to be appear in federal court Tuesday on the charges.

    Attorney information wasn't immediately available.

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