Federal prosecutors announced charges Tuesday against six New York City correctional officers accused of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to smuggle drugs to inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex. Fifteen other people, including several inmates, also were charged in criminal complaints unsealed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Prosecutors say that the case has been under investigation since early 2019, and involved guards sneaking a smartphone, marijuana and other drugs into the jail. Authorities said they reviewed financial records, conducted surveillance and listened to recorded calls in which the defendants used coded language to talk about the smuggling. In at least one instance, prosecutors said, “Oakland Raider jerseys” was code for marijuana.
New York City lawmakers voted in October to close Rikers Island, one of the world’s largest jails, and replace the complex with four smaller jails closer to the main courthouses in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. Rikers is scheduled to close by 2026.
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