Seventeen people, including two correctional officers, were indicted on charges related to the smuggling of contraband into Rikers Island, the Bronx District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
The accused face 84 counts of various charges, including bribery, bribe receiving, promoting prison contraband, attempted possession and attempted sale of controlled substances and conspiracy.
The two correctional officers and a cook at the facility are also charged with official misconduct, prosecutors said.
The arrests were conducted over the span of six months and encompass three alleged schemes. One indictment charges that correctional officer Kevin McKoy, 31, allegedly earned about $10,000 smuggling in scalpels wrapped in duct tape, suboxone strips and synthetic marijuana to inmates. Prosecutors said inmates would call family members or friends and ask them to give contraband and cash to McKoy, who would then contact them to arrange for the pickup of the items.
Prosecutors said McKoy was arrested with seven scalpels tucked into the legs of his long underwear, and that nine others were discovered in his apartment. McKoy allegedly admitted to investigators that those scalpels were intended to be smuggled into the prison, and that he was providing inmates with contraband for about a year.
In a separate indictment, correctional officer Mohammed Sufian, 25, is accused of smuggling tobacco into the facility for $1,000. He was arrested in February with the substance in his socks, prosecutors said.
Darnell Wilson, 27, was a cook at the prison who was arrested at the front gate of the facility with synthetic marijuana and tobacco inside of his shoes, according to prosecutors. He allegedly told investigators he was receiving $200 a week since the summer of 2015 for bringing in the contraband.
Other defendants include:
· Jaclyn Arcangel, 21, civilian
· Duntrell Calderon, (Aka “True”) 21, inmate
· Bonitti Cook, 21, inmate
· Kelly Coppinger, 22, civilian
· Raffaele Desantis, 22, civilian
· Vittoria Desantis, 22, civilian
· Tara Meeks, 23, civilian
· Anthony Nicoletti, (Aka “Mayhem”) 24, inmate
· Maurice Parrish, 28, civilian
· Michael Williams (Aka “B.m.”) 24, inmate
· Michael Williams (Note: B.m.’S Brother), 19, civilian
· Brandon Vilella (Aka: “Mook Money”), 29, inmate
· Ernest Soberanis, (aka “Intel”) 46, inmate
· Carina Holder, 20, civilian
“These alleged schemes fed the climate of danger and fear that makes Rikers Island notorious for brutality, and they reveal the true scope of corruption that goes far beyond its shoreline,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement.
“But these cases also show our determination to work with DOI to prosecute any and all perpetrators of crime inside Rikers Island. Aside from tarnishing his badge by taking bribes from inmates, Correction Officer Kevin McKoy allegedly smuggled in scalpels. Even after his fellow Correction Officer, Ray Calderon, was slashed on his face requiring 20 stitches and photos of his grisly wound were publicized, McKoy allegedly continued to bring in these weapons.”
“We are taking aggressive steps to stem the flow of contraband into our facilities, resulting in a 48% increase in weapon seizures this year," Corrections Commissioner Joseph Ponte said in a statement. "From investing in X-ray machines and expanding K-9 teams to increasing visitor searches and overhauling our officer recruitment and vetting process, we have put comprehensive reforms in place to root out contraband on Rikers Island. And today we are launching a dedicated team to monitor inmate phone calls; adding broader K-9 searches; and expanding Intel sharing from phone monitoring with DOI.
"We have zero tolerance for any illegal behavior in our jails, and we are confident that our ongoing reforms are yielding more capable officers and safer jails.”