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Corruption rocks Rikers Island, staff, inmates charged in bribery, smuggling scheme

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In a significant development exposing corruption within Rikers Island, six individuals, including former correction officers, a program counselor, a contractor employee, and an ex-inmate, face federal charges following allegations of bribery and contraband smuggling at the notorious New York City jail complex.

The federal criminal complaint filed on April 9 reveals a web of illicit activities spanning several months and involving multiple parties.

The accused individuals are implicated in schemes that allowed prohibited substances like oxycodone, marijuana, and fentanyl to infiltrate Rikers Island, compromising the integrity of the correctional system.

According to the complaint, Carlos Rivera, a former correction officer stationed at the North Infirmary Command, allegedly accepted bribes from an inmate between December 2021 and February 2022. Rivera stands accused of smuggling contraband, including oxycodone and marijuana, into the facility.

Chantal De Los Santos, another former correction officer assigned to the Anna M. Kross Center (AMKC), faces charges for accepting bribes from multiple inmates between March and June 2022 to smuggle contraband into Rikers Island. She is believed to have conspired with Shanequa Washington, a program counselor at the Department of Correction, during this period.

Kenneth Webster, an employee of a contractor servicing Rikers Island, is also implicated in the scandal, accused of accepting bribes to smuggle contraband into the facility between May and June 2022, allegedly conspiring with De Los Santos.

Furthermore, Stephanie Davila, a former correction officer at AMKC, and Kristopher Francisco, a former inmate, are accused of orchestrating a contraband smuggling operation between approximately July and August 2021. Davila and Francisco allegedly bribed another correction officer to facilitate the smuggling of fentanyl, marijuana, and synthetic cannabinoids into the facility.

These charges shed light on the pervasive corruption and security breaches within Rikers Island, a facility already under scrutiny for its conditions and management. The case underscores the challenges faced by authorities in maintaining order and integrity in the nation’s correctional facilities.

The investigation, led by federal authorities, signals a concerted effort to crack down on criminal activities within Rikers Island. The accused individuals will now face legal proceedings, highlighting a crucial step towards accountability and reform within the New York City correctional system.

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