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Press Release

Former Fairfax County deputy pleads guilty to conspiring with inmate to traffic drugs in jail

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) deputy pled guilty today to providing drugs and other contraband to an inmate at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center (Fairfax ADC) in exchange for bribe payments.

According to court documents, from May 2021 to June 21, 2023, Robert Theodore Sanford Jr., 37, was a correctional officer at Fairfax ADC, which holds detainees arrested by FCSO, the Fairfax County Police Department, and federal agencies. From Dec. 2022 through May 2023, Sanford smuggled contraband into Fairfax ADC and provided the contraband and confidential, law-enforcement-sensitive information to an inmate. The contraband included a cell phone and distribution quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and Suboxone. Sanford also supplied latex gloves and glue to the inmate to help conceal the contraband. The inmate then trafficked the drugs to other inmates.

Sanford provided the inmate with information such as advance warning of cell searches by deputies, cell blocks to which deputies were proceeding in those searches, whether deputies would be conducting strip searches, and where drug-sniffing dogs were being utilized. Sanford also provided the inmate with information regarding other inmates, including which inmates might be providing information to law enforcement, which assisted Sanford’s co-conspirator in intimidating potential witnesses.

Outside Fairfax ADC, Sanford procured drugs from the inmate’s associates. In addition to the drugs Sanford smuggled into Fairfax ADC, Sanford distributed drugs to women who lived in and prostituted themselves out of an apartment that Sanford leased.

On May 4, 2023, FCSO deputies at Fairfax ADC conducted a strip search of Sanford’s co-conspirator, and in the inmate’s long underwear deputies found a cellphone, two charging cables, one portable cellular phone charger, one USB charging brick, 92 counterfeit oxycodone pills, 174 strips of Suboxone, and over three grams of cocaine. The following day, Sanford was informed of the seizure during roll call. Sanford removed his cash tag name and personal email address from the CashApp account he used to receive bribe payments for smuggling contraband into Fairfax ADC. He also stopped sending messages and making calls to the inmate and other conspirators and deleted related messages. Within two weeks of FCSO discovering the contraband, Sanford began the process of resigning from his job, telling FCSO that childcare challenges were the reason for his resignation.

Sanford will remain detained until sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 18. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of two counts of conviction. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; David J. Scott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office's Criminal and Cyber Division; and Stacey A. Kincaid, Fairfax County Sheriff, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. accepted the plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather D. Call is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:24-cr-110.


Press Officer

Updated June 5, 2024

Public Corruption