Two Newark NJ men were recently sentenced to time in federal prison for helping to smuggle drugs and cell phones to inmates housed at the Essex County Jail.
According to a statement issued by federal prosecutors, the defendants appeared in federal court in Trenton NJ for sentencing. One of the defendants was sentenced to 15 months in a federal penitentiary; the other defendant received a sentence of 1 year in federal prison.
The defendants are 29 years old and 31 years old, respectively. They previously pleaded guilty to charges of committing extortion and conspiring to smuggle contraband.
Court documents indicated that the defendants were enlisted in the illegal scheme by a 26-year-old corrections officer at the Essex County Correctional Facility, which is located in Newark, New Jersey. The defendants were instructed to collect marijuana, cell phones, and tobacco. The corrections officer then delivered the items to an inmate at the jail.
According to authorities, the inmate was being held at the facility on federal charges for an armed carjacking and a firearm offense. Once the inmate took possession of the contraband, he allegedly sold the goods to other inmates at the jail.
The corrections officer has already pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme. He was set to be sentenced shortly after the other defendants were sentenced.
The defendant who received the more punitive sentence of 15 months in prison also admitted to helping the corrections officer retrieve in excess of $4,000 in Western Union payments from inmates.
Prosecutors said that at least 6 other people were also charged in the illegal smuggling scheme. According to U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, the Newark jail functioned as a “contraband marketplace” because of these unscrupulous individuals.
For further information about this case, view the NJ.com article entitled “Newark Men Sentenced to Prison for Helping Smuggle Pot, Cell Phones into Essex County Jail.”