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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 12, 2018

Fort Dix Correctional Officer Charged With Accepting Bribes In Exchange For Delivering Contraband To Inmates

NEWARK, N.J. – A corrections officer was arrested for allegedly accepting cash bribes in exchange for delivering contraband to inmates at Federal Correctional Institution Fort Dix (FCI Fort Dix), U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Special Agent in Charge Ronald G. Gardella of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division, announced today.  

Paul Anton Wright, 32, of Berlin, New Jersey, was arrested by federal agents this morning and charged by complaint with agreeing to accept and accepting bribes. Wright appeared this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer in Newark federal court and was released on $100,000 unsecured bond. 

According to the complaint:

In 2015, Wright, a corrections officer at FCI Fort Dix, allegedly smuggled contraband, including K2 synthetic marijuana and suboxone, a Schedule III narcotic used to treat opioid addiction, to inmates inside FCI Fort Dix. Wright received the contraband and cash bribes from two individuals outside of FCI Fort Dix.

For instance, between February and September 2015, Wright received thousands of dollars in cash payments from the relative of an FCI Fort Dix inmate and subsequently delivered contraband, including K2, to the inmate. According to bank records, on Feb. 19, 2015, there was a $2,500 cash withdrawal from the relative’s bank account and a $2,500 deposit into Wright’s bank account the following day. There were also three phone calls between Wright and the relative during this two-day period. On other occasions, the cash payments were deposited into Wright’s bank accounts or used by Wright for cash buy-ins at the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

In addition, between October and December 2015, Wright received thousands of dollars in cash payments from the relative of an inmate’s girlfriend. Wright met with this relative in Bronx, New York, on multiple occasions, and on each occasion, Wright accepted contraband and cash. He subsequently delivered the contraband to an inmate at FCI Fort Dix.  

The bribery count with which Wright is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charge and allegations in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, New York Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gardella, with the investigation leading to today’s arrest.  

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division.

18-153

Defense counsel: Linda Foster Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Newark

Topic(s): 
Public Corruption
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-153
Updated April 12, 2018