“City Correction officers who accept bribes to transport contraband into correctional facilities undermine the safety and security of the jails, as well as of their fellow officers,” said DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A former City Correction officer has admitted to smuggling contraband into a Rikers Island jail for cash payments, federal prosecutors announced Friday.
Simon Gordon, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiring to accept bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband into a facility on the island.
According to authorities, from approximately January 2018 through July 2018, Gordon agreed to accept bribes in exchange for smuggling contraband, including marijuana, into one of the jails on Rikers Island. On July 29, 2018, City Department of Investigation officials monitoring a telephone call between Gordon’s co-conspirators overheard a discussion about a cash payment made to Gordon in exchange for smuggling contraband into the jail. Specifically, co-conspirator 2 told co-conspirator 1 that
Gordon was given two “bands,” coded language referring to $2,000, and that co-conspirator 2 had “six balls,” code for six packages of narcotics, for Gordon.
On July 30, 2018, when Gordon arrived for work, he was searched and found to have a package containing marijuana concealed in the crotch of his pants. The package was coated with clear nail polish, to mask the smell of marijuana.
“Gordon betrayed the trust placed in him as a correction officer when he accepted bribes to smuggle contraband into Rikers Island, jeopardizing the safety and security of the correctional facility,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “This Office is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to identify and hold accountable those like Gordon who corrupt our correctional institutions.”
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett added, “City Correction officers who accept bribes to transport contraband into correctional facilities undermine the safety and security of the jails, as well as of their fellow officers. In this case, a correction officer who pocketed cash in return for bringing in marijuana to Rikers Island is now convicted and no longer a City employee—sending a strong message that New York City has no tolerance for this illegal conduct.”
When sentenced, Gordon faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Earlier this year, a City CO, a former Rikers Island inmate and three civilians—including two people who worked in a Brooklyn afterschool program—were indicted for smuggling marijuana and other contraband into jail.
Torray Riles, 36, a DOC officer since December 2016, was arraigned in April on four counts of third-degree bribe receiving, four counts of official misconduct, first and second-degree promoting prison contraband, attempted promoting prison contraband second-degree, third and attempted criminal sale of marijuana in the third and fourth-degree, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, and sixth-degree conspiracy.
The other defendants, Joseph Swaby, 33, a former Rikers Island inmate; Vergillian Blount, 33; Damont Brooks, 23; and Aisha Tolbert, 41, were charged with third-degree bribery, third-degree criminal sale of marijuana, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, first and second-degree promoting prison contraband, attempted promoting prison contraband in the second degree, and fifth and sixth-degree conspiracy.
During an investigation conducted by the Bronx DA’s Office and DOI, investigators discovered that Riles had been part of an ongoing conspiracy with Joseph Swaby to smuggle various contraband into the jail in exchange for money.