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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Two New Jersey Women Admit Roles In Plots To Bribe Corrections Officers To Smuggle Contraband Into Essex County Jail

TRENTON, N.J. – Two women today admitted their involvement in schemes to bribe corrections officers to smuggle contraband to inmates inside the Essex County Jail, a federal pretrial detention facility, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Deidra Harrison, 51, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper to Count One of an indictment charging her with conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right. Karen Adrianzen, 38, of North Bergen, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper to an information charging her with conspiring to pay bribes to Essex County Jail corrections officers. Harrison and Adrianzen have both been released on bail.

According to the documents filed in this case, other cases, and statements made in court:

In November 2013, Channel Lespinasse, 32, of Florham Park, New Jersey, a corrections officer at the Essex County Jail and Harrison’s daughter, agreed to deliver a cell phone to an inmate inside the Essex County Jail in exchange for $1,000. Harrison retrieved the cell phone and the $1,000 payment from an FBI undercover agent outside of the jail and passed the cell phone and the cash payment along to Lespinasse. Lespinasse then smuggled the cell phone into the jail and delivered it to the inmate.

On multiple occasions between September 2013 and May 2014, Jason Perez, 40, of Guttenberg, New Jersey, a federal pretrial detainee at the Essex County Jail, directed Adrianzen to pay cash bribes to various Essex County Jail corrections officers. At Perez’s direction, Adrianzen obtained contraband, including marijuana and cell phones, and delivered them to the corrections officers along with the cash bribes. After the corrections officers delivered the contraband to Perez, he ultimately sold the marijuana and cell phones to other inmates in the jail, who paid for the contraband via Western Union money transfers executed by their friends and family. Adrianzen and others collected the money transfers on Perez’s behalf.           

The charge for conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right, to which Harrison pleaded guilty, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of conspiring to bribe public officials, to which Adrianzen pleaded guilty, carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing for Harrison and Adrianzen is scheduled for June 3, 2016 and May 31, 2016, respectively.

On Jan. 13, 2015, Lespinasse pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit extortion under color of official right and awaits sentencing on April 20, 2016. Perez pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to public officials on May 4, 2015 and awaits sentencing on March 1, 2016.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Campi in Newark, and investigators with the Internal Affairs Division of Essex County Jail, under the leadership of Warden Roy Hendricks, with the investigation leading to today’s pleas.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Special Prosecutions Division and Rob Frazer of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.

Defense counsel:

Harrison: Frank Guzman, Jersey City, New Jersey

16-049
Topic: 
Public Corruption
Updated June 15, 2016