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Press Release

Three Correction Officers At Private Detention Facility For Federal Inmates Arrested For Taking Bribes To Smuggle Contraband Into Jail

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Corrections officers Saquan Williams, Jabar Allen, and Shawn Pettigrew took bribes from federal inmates in their custody in exchange for smuggling drugs and contraband into the jail

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the unsealing of a Complaint in Manhattan federal court charging correction officers SAQUAN WILLIAMS a/k/a “Will,” JABAR ALLEN, and SHAWN PETTIGREW with taking bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband into a private detention facility in Queens, New York, which houses federal inmates pursuant to a contract with the United States Marshals Service (the “Jail”).  PETTIGREW was arrested Tuesday night.  WILLIAMS and ALLEN were arrested this morning.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As alleged, these correction officers abused the public power entrusted to them by taking bribes to smuggle contraband, including drugs, into a jail that housed federal inmates.  Corruption of those who work within our criminal justice system, including officers at a private detention facility, cannot be tolerated and must be rooted out, as it undermines the public faith in the system and betrays the trust of all fellow officers who dedicate themselves to the proper administration of justice.”


According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:       

WILLIAMS, ALLEN, and PETTIGREW are all correction officers at the Jail.  As alleged, WILLIAMS, ALLEN, and PETTIGREW took bribes from numerous inmates at the Jail in exchange for smuggling contraband, including smokeable synthetic cannabinoids (“K2”), marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, and other items into the Jail for the inmates.  The bribes were funneled to WILLIAMS, ALLEN, and PETTIGREW by non-incarcerated friends and relatives of the inmates either in cash or by wire transfer.  For example, on at least three occasions in 2017, WILLIAMS received bribes from an inmate (“Inmate-1”) in exchange for smuggling K2, marijuana, and cigarettes into the Jail.  On at least two occasions in 2016, ALLEN also took bribes from Inmate-1 in exchange for smuggling marijuana and cigarettes into the Jail.  On approximately 10 occasions in 2017, PETTIGREW received bribes from an inmate (“Inmate-2”) in exchange for smuggling K2, marijuana, cigarettes, and cellular telephones into the Jail.  ALLEN also took a bribe from Inmate-2 in exchange for smuggling, among other things, K2 into the Jail.  When Inmate-2 later approached WILLIAMS about bribing him in exchange for contraband, WILLIAMS told Inmate-2 that WILLIAMS and ALLEN were on the “same team.”  On Thanksgiving Day 2016, WILLIAMS, after losing a bet with another inmate, agreed to smuggle marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol into the Jail.  WILLIAMS met with an inmate’s non-incarcerated friend near the Jail during one of WILLIAMS’s breaks from work to pick up the contraband, which he then smuggled into the Jail approximately one week later.

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SAQUAN WILLIAMS, 34, of Queens, New York, JABAR ALLEN, 26, of Queens, New York, and SHAWN PETTIGREW, 31, of Queens, New York, have each been charged in the Complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and to introduce contraband into prison, which carries a maximum prison term of five years, and one count of bribery, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years.

Mr. Kim thanks the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, for their assistance in the investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas McKay and Max Nicholas are in charge of the prosecution.   


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated August 16, 2017

Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 17-261