Three Correctional Officers Indicted and Arrested For Introducing Contraband into State Prison
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On May 12, 2021, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging three Puerto Rico Department of Corrections officers and two other individuals with conspiracy to provide contraband in prison, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. The case was investigated by the FBI Police Corruption/Civil Rights squad that investigates corrupt domestic public officials as a part of a collaborative effort with the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections.
The indictment charges that from approximately June 2017 to March 2020, Puerto Rico correctional officers Jorge Rodríguez-Pagán, Luis Joel López-Luna, and Elvin O. Navedo-Colón, conspired together and with Shirley Figueroa and Magalys Ortega to provide prohibited objects, including cellular telephones and controlled substances, to inmates housed at the Bayamón 705 prison in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
According to the allegations in the indictment, correctional officers Rodríguez-Pagán, López-Luna and Navedo-Colón smuggled prohibited items, including, synthetic marihuana, Suboxone, cigarettes as well as cellular telephones and chargers into Bayamón 705 in exchange for payment from co-conspirators Figueroa and Ortega, who were associated with inmates. The payments were made via ATH Móvil.
“Contraband cellphones and controlled substances in prisons pose a grave danger. We stand ready to assist the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections in their efforts to prevent inmates from using contraband cell phones, and other prohibited materials in prisons,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow. “The corruption and criminal conduct shown by these correctional officers will not be tolerated, and we will prosecute these offenses to the fullest extent of the law.”
FBI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Rafael Riviere Vázquez said: “The public relies on Correctional Officers to maintain order and safety of the institutions they are sworn to protect. The men arrested today put this order and safety at risk by taking bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband to the inmates in their custody. The FBI is firmly committed to fighting corruption wherever it may take root – this includes the corridors of our correctional facilities. Special thanks to the FBI San Juan Police Corruption and Civil Rights Task Force, for their great work in this investigation and to our valued partners of the Puerto Rico Department of Corrections, who provided their full support and collaboration.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy to provide contraband in prison. Defendant López-Luna is also facing up to 20 years in prison for providing controlled substances in prison and the distribution of controlled substances as well as up to one year in prison for providing cellular telephones in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant United States Attorney Marie Christine Amy is in charge of the prosecution of the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.