Fla. corrections employees arrested in drug sting

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A lengthy FBI sting has exposed a ring of cocaine and contraband smuggling that was protected by corrupt guards and even a drug counselor in two Florida prisons, state and federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The investigation began two years ago when undercover FBI agents acting on a tip approached the officers for help trafficking drugs. In exchange for cash, the officers agreed to use their positions to protect, hide and facilitate cocaine shipments, according to a grand jury indictment against 16 of the 22 arrested.

An FBI SWAT team carried out the arrests simultaneously Thursday at the Glades facility and nearby South Bay jail. At least 18 are former corrections officers, according to state and federal officials. All have been fired.

“We cannot allow those involved in the administration of justice at any level to misuse their positions to line their own pockets,” said Jeffrey Sloman U.S. Attorney for Florida’s Southern District.

The 16 in federal court are charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and attempting to possess cocaine. The State Attorney’s Office in Palm Beach County is pursuing charges of bribery and conspiracy to introduce contraband into prisons against the remaining six.

The indictment from “Operation Blind Justice” alleges that on at least nine occasions, the defendants transported what they believed to be multiple kilos of cocaine from Miami to West Palm Beach. Prosecutors wouldn’t say exactly what was in the packages or what happened to them upon delivery.

In exchange, the guards collectively received $145,000, with individuals earning anywhere from $5,000 and $33,000 apiece, Sloman said.

It was just the most recent in a string of federal corruption arrests throughout South Florida, tangling up politicians ranging from the county commission to school board. John Gillies, special agent in charge of the local FBI branch, said fighting such abuses of power was their top criminal priority.

Drugs are a particular scourge in Florida prisons, Corrections Secretary Walter McNeil said, because they inspire aggression against guards and other inmates.

“Our best defense against drugs in our institutions is the eyes and ears of our employees – the officers working in the institution,” McNeil said. “In this case the problem involved our staff, but I want you to know that in this case they were also the solution.”



11 Responses

  1. fuck the fbi fuck them crackers thats how i fell

  2. The F.B.I.and Walter Mc Neil from Tallahassee,Fl. need to go clean out Columbia Correctional Institution in Lake City Fl. for they have drugs and cellular phones contraband smuggling in there and then you think the inmates are the bad guys! bull shit! then you have some female officers having sex with the inmates then you have correctional officers in there falsifying incident reports for an officer to make a false statement by falsifying a incident report carry’s out a crime of the second degree meaning by the law books they could face 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted on any of the counts so for you correctional officers in Columbia C.I. that has created reports on the incidents containing false or misleading informations its coming to you in the courts of Tallahassee If only the correctional officers of Columbia C.I. knew how many inmates are willing to talk just to get a time cut I not afraid of talking for I am just the reporter if anyone that has a love one in one of the florida correctional institutions and has been serious injury or assault or has received any mistreatment from any officer in Columbia give me they names and i will put it in the news media and most of all I’ll let Mr.Walter McNeil in Tallahassee know everything let your love one know whats happening to you. Don’t be afraid V.R. lavoznewsmedia there is a big cover up in Columbia C.I. a lot of inmates family gave up your names and we have those correctional officers names! correctional officers going wrong someone going to stop them.

  3. THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION IS TEN TIMES WORSE THAN ANYTHING THAT I HAVE READ SO FAR!!! The Warden, Assitant Warde and Majors are bringing in more drugs, tobacco and cell phones than the FBI can even imagine. They are beating inmates, shooting them up by force with psycho drugs to keep the trouble-makers quiet. The Feds took the Arkansas prisons over once years ago… they just slowed them down for a few years, that’s all. With Arkansas being so small,why do they have 24 prisons??? Because it is a multi-billion dollar money making enterprise for those in power, aka the director, assistant directors, and the rest of the “Good Old Boys” and now “Girls”. They have this state so sewn up that the ACLU won’t touch them, the Attorney General is their friend, and won’t touch them, so the FEDS are the only ones they fear. There have been so many deaths in that prison system, but but the Spokeswoman covers it all up, and the media is paid off, or scared to even report the stuff until weeks after the fact. The movie “Brubaker” was REAL… and the stuff that was going on back then is still going on. SOME NEEDS TO CALL THE FEDS TO INVESTIGATE THIS STUFF… AGAIN. The Wardens are already making big bucks, and then they put certain inmates in place to help move the drugs and cell phones, while they get filthy, stanky rich in the process. WHY WON’T SOMEONE STOP THESE DEATHS, DRUG BUSINESS AND CORRUPTION IN THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION??? NO ONE CARE ABOUT ARKANSAS, AND THEY ARE SCARED OF THESE HILLBILLIES, AND GOOD OLD BOYS, PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!

    • Dear Anonymous,

      I need your help investigating and writing about corruption in corrections. In a nation wherein “In GOD We Trust” has become a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed, corruption and wickedness exist on both sides of the badge and the bars. Yet, are they bad men just because they made some bad choices? Do not all of us have A’s and F’s on our moral report cards? As I so stated on my blog, http://www.victoryNchrist.net we can’t fix it IF we can’t face it. I dare anyone who wants to fix their F’s to read that textbook and then to trust in GOD…and that’s my final answer!

      • I agree but it’s to bad the rest of the world seems not to actually “think”.. Ouch!

        Not every inmate is a murderer, a rapist, etc…!!!!! Some are not even guilty! The power in these guards, prison employees, is a scary situation when you have to be around them 24/7, chained, cuffed… Inmates actually are found dead… By s guards hand, lie about, still working…

        There is something truly wrong with the system..

        Wake up world!

    • How can this not be investigated! People, who are innocent, are in these hell holes, with people who are worse than animals ( the guards…) What the he’ll is this?

      Get involved, call the FEDS, please!!!

  4. There is some serious abuse going on by Guards in all of FL prisons. Unacceptable!!!! God help their child, if they make a mistake and end up with these wackos who have criminal backgrounds themselves.

    Florida… Shame on you!

  5. Good evening, I’m Johnnie Tatum from Houston Texas, as a young man I made some poor choices that will affect me for the rest of my life. I want to share my story with officers to help them see the BIG PICTURE. I was an officer that delivered and sold drugs in prison, and I regret, embarrassed by but take full responsibility for my actions. Let me help save lives, careers, families and futures. All I need is one unit that will allow me the chance to speak. I will pay for my travel and do the in-services for free. You can’t put a price on what I have put my self through over the last 25 years. Allow me to help! Contact info: 713-623-1811 http://www.secondchancereentry.com

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