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Crime and Courts

6 NYC Correction Officers Among Those Charged In Rikers Smuggling Scheme

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What to Know

  • Six NYC correction officers assigned to Rikers and more than 12 others, including inmates and intermediaries, are charged with conspiring to accept bribes and smuggling contraband
  • According to prosecutors, the correction officers allegedly received thousands of dollars in bribes to bring contraband into the facility
  • In total, 21 individuals were charged. They include the six correction officers, five Rikers inmates and seven other individuals.

Six New York City correction officers assigned to Rikers Island and more than a dozen others, including inmates and intermediaries, are charged with conspiring to accept bribes and smuggling contraband into the jail, federal prosecutors say.

The investigation conducted by the FBI and the city's Department of Investigation revealed a scheme by the defendants to smuggle narcotics into the George R. Vierno Center and the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island, according to prosecutors.

In total, 21 individuals were charged. They include the six correction officers, five Rikers inmates and seven other individuals. In addition, three others are still being sought. All 21 are charged with conspiring to bribe correction officers, court papers say.

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According to prosecutors, the correction officers allegedly received thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle the contraband into the facility.

The investigation by the FBI and the NYC DOI began early in 2019 and revealed bribes to corrections officers in exchange for smuggling marijuana, K2 (a synthetic cannabinoid), and an unauthorized smart phone into the prison facility, prosecutors said.

Investigators reviewed financial records of online money transfers, conducted surveillance, and reviewed recorded phone calls made by defendants who used coded language, court documents say.

According to prosecutors, examples of the coded language used included “Oakland Raider jerseys” as code for marijuana and a reference to a “joint” as code for a cell phone.

“The corruption of correction officers presents a security risk to the entire jail population, and a potential danger to the residents of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue.  

The correction officers and others arrested will appear in federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon.

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