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Press Release

Former Correctional Officer Receives 42 Months in Prison for Smuggling Drugs into Oahu Community Correctional Center

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

HONOLULU – Richard Ascencio, 52, of Wahiawa, Hawaii, was sentenced yesterday by Chief United States District Judge Derrick K. Watson to 42 months in prison and two years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Ascencio pled guilty to the charges on September 21, 2022.

According to information provided to the Court, Ascencio worked as a correctional officer at the Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) from 2000 until his arrest in 2020 for these charges. Ascencio agreed to smuggle methamphetamine into OCCC and provide it to an inmate in exchange for cash payments. Pursuant to this criminal agreement, Ascencio obtained methamphetamine from co-conspirators outside OCCC, hid the methamphetamine in his backpack, and then used his position as a correctional officer to attempt to bypass security measures and smuggle the methamphetamine into OCCC.

An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Honolulu Police Department, revealed that Ascencio was attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into OCCC on February 12, 2020. When Ascencio reported for duty at OCCC that day, investigators located 11 packets of methamphetamine hidden in Ascencio’s backpack.

“Rather than protect the community from the scourge of methamphetamine, as Ascencio was charged with doing as a correctional officer, he instead perpetuated the devastating cycle of addiction among inmates and endangered the welfare of his co-workers,” said United States Attorney Clare E. Connors. “Our office will continue to prosecute this kind of corruption, as it degrades trust in government and endangers our community.”

“The FBI will not tolerate those who are in a position of trust to violate that trust by bringing illegal drugs into our correctional facilities,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “This act unfortunately undermines the efforts of other correctional officers who serve with the utmost integrity in their position. Yesterday’s sentence holds Ascencio accountable for the blatant disregard of the laws he swore to uphold.”

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Hudspeth prosecuted the case.


Elliot Enoki

Updated December 13, 2023

Drug Trafficking