Two Former Correctional Officers Charged with Accepting Bribes and Smuggling Contraband into Federal Prison
As part of the Justice Department’s continuing efforts against prison corruption, a federal grand jury in the District of Kansas returned two indictments on Sept. 22 charging two former correctional officers with smuggling drugs and other contraband into Leavenworth Detention Center.
According to court documents, Jacqueline Sifuentes, 25, of Laredo, Texas, previously worked as a correctional officer at Leavenworth Detention Center, a privately run, maximum-security federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas. The indictment alleges that Sifuentes used her position as a public official to smuggle contraband, including methamphetamine, marijuana, and tobacco, into the prison in exchange for bribe payments from federal inmates.
Sifuentes, who was arrested Tuesday, is charged with conspiring to commit bribery and provide contraband, bribery, and providing contraband to an inmate. She made her initial appearance yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. If convicted of all counts, she faces up to 40 years in prison.
According to court documents, Cheyonte Harris, 29, of Raytown, Missouri, also previously worked as a correctional officer at Leavenworth Detention Center. The indictment alleges that Harris used her position as a public official to smuggle contraband into prison in exchange for bribe payments. The indictment further alleges that she made material misrepresentations to the FBI when she was interviewed in April 2021.
Harris, who was arrested on Monday, is charged with conspiring to commit bribery and provide contraband and making false statements to federal agents. She made her initial appearance on Sept. 27 before U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. If convicted of all counts, she faces up to 10 years in prison.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Charles A. Dayoub of the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office made the announcement.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI. Trial Attorneys Rebecca M. Schuman and Dahoud A. Askar of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting these cases.
The cases are part of the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to combat the dangerous and corrosive effects of prison corruption. In addition to the above matters, the Public Integrity Section and the FBI recently obtained convictions against three former North Carolina prison officials who smuggled contraband, including illegal narcotics, into a state facility in exchange for bribe payments. See United States v. Ollie Rose, III, Case No. 4:20-CR-96 (E.D.N.C.); United States v. Kenneth Farr, Case No. 4:21-CR-9 (E.D.N.C.); and United States v. Jeremy Chambers, Case No. 4:21-CR-38 (E.D.N.C.).
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.