Police correction officers charged with smuggling drugs and phones to gang members in prison
Prosecutors in New York have revealed how corrupt officers snuggles contraband substances into a notorious New York prison.
Two New York city correction officers also known as prison guards smuggled contraband cellphones and drugs to Bloods gang members on Rikers Island in exchange for thousands of dollars in bribes, according to federal prosecutors.
Krystle Burrell, 35, and Katrina Patterson, 31, were arrested Tuesday, April 5 after running separate schemes that involved different Rikers jails, the FBI said.
Between October 2020 and March 2021, prosecutors of the case said, Patterson meticulously planned dropoffs of contraband and received more than $30,000 from Imani Matthews, 25, and Ashley Medina, 24, two girlfriends of Michael Ross,a prisoner who was being held at Rikers island on criminal weapon possession charges.
Prosecutors say in one occasion, Patterson snuck in to Ross what she said were “4 black joints in 1 paper,” insisting to Matthews that “it better be wrapped so many times I don’t want to smell it,” prosecutors said.
On Nov. 10, 2020, investigators say they discovered nearly 50 grams of marijuana in Ross’ cell at the Robert N. Davoren Center on Rikers as well as a contraband cell phone, the feds said.
After the discovery, Ross was sent to solitary confinement, while Patterson was sent into a panic.
“Call me I gotta see you asap did he destroy the phone they found the phone and mad weed… they have the phone I hope he deleted everything,” Patterson wrote in a message to Medina.
Just 15 days after the bust in Ross’ cell, Patterson wanted to get back to smuggling contraband, prosecutors said.
“Tell him tomorrow if he ready to get back to business let me know,” she wrote to Matthews in a text message on Nov. 25.
Matthews and Medina paid Patterson through a money receiving app called CashApp, and Patterson was caught on video smuggling in bags of what prosecutors say was narcotics to inmates associated with Ross, the feds said.
Meanwhile the other officer, Burrell smuggled for Terrae Hinds, 28, another Bloods gang member, prosecutors said.
Burrell, a veteran of the Department of Correction smuggled Hinds two cellphones, one of which once belonged to her, the feds allege.
Burrell has also been accused of helping Hinds distribute narcotics while he was jailed at the Anna M. Kross Center.
Mattthews, Medina, Ross and Hinds have also been BB charged with bribery conspiracy in the case. All six defendants face up to five years in prison.
In a statement, New York city Correction Commissioner Louis Molina called the allegations against Patterson and Burrell “disturbing,” and noted that smuggling contraband is illegal and “puts everyone in our facilities at risk.”
“If these officers are found guilty they will be terminated and their shield numbers will never be worn again,” Molina said.
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