KEY POINTS

  • Six Riker Island guards are charged with bribery and drug smuggling
  • They allegedly smuggled marijuana, K2 and cell phones to inmates
  • The guards allegedly worked with a network of civilian accomplices

Six guards at New York City’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility have been charged with taking bribes and bringing in drugs and other types of contraband  to several members of the jail’s incarcerated population. Fifteen others, including five inmates, were also charged in the probe by city and federal prosecutors that began back in early 2019.

Unsealed federal court documents obtained by the New York Post revealed that corrections officers Patrick Legerme, Darrington James, Aldrin Livingston, Michael Murray, Angel Rodriguez and Christopher Walker worked with civilian accomplices to get inmates an assortment of drugs, such as K2 and marijuana, as well as a cell phone in one case, to several inmates in the facility.

They used coded language to refer to certain types of illegal items, including using the term “Oakland Raiders Jersey” to describe marijuana. Legerme reportedly took in over $11,000 for his role in the scheme.

Authorities used CashApp transfer data, surveillance footage, phone records and financial statement to build the case. Drug-sniffing dogs detected the contraband on the officers, in one case sniffing out bundles of marijuana and K2.

“The corruption of correction officers presents a security risk to the entire jail population, and a potential danger to the residents of our communities,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who place their personal enrichment over the public duties they have sworn to perform.”

Five of the officers were released on $50,000 bond. Legerme was released on a $25,000 bond. His attorney emphatically denies the charges and claims that he’ll “quit the practice of criminal law” if his client is convicted.

The men have been ordered to stay away from Rikers Island while they await prosecution.

“If you don’t, you’re going to be in trouble. To put it colloquially,” Magistrate Judge Ramon Reyes Jr. of the Eastern District of New York said.

Saudi Arabia-jail A general view of Ha'er Prison in Saudi Arabia July 6, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Faisal Al Nasser