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NYC correction officer took $500 bribe to smuggle pot, cigs into courthouse: prosecutors

A New York City correction officer has been charged with taking a $500 bribe to smuggle thousands of dollars worth of cigarettes and marijuana into a Bronx courthouse holding area, prosecutors said Thursday.

Officer Andre Brown, 59, was arraigned in Bronx Criminal Supreme Court Wednesday on charges of receiving a bribe and promoting contraband.

Prosecutors say Brown gave a suspect in custody 16 cigarettes and roughly an ounce of marijuana on Feb. 15 in a holding area at the Bronx Hall of Justice, where criminal court hearings take place.

The detainee then took the contraband on a bus back to Rikers Island. Prosecutors estimate the items were worth $6,600 in the jails, where cigarettes go from $50 to $100 each and three grams of marijuana sell for between $350 and $500.

Brown was allegedly paid $500 through a payment app.

“Cigarettes and marijuana are valuable commodities that fuel violence and corruption in the jails and this correction officer allegedly contributed to the lawlessness for a $500 bribe,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. “That the alleged crime occurred in the courthouse is remarkably  audacious.”


Bronx County Hall of Justice (Jefferson Siegel / New York Daily News)

Bronx Hall of Justice (Jefferson Siegel / New York Daily News)

But Benny Boscio, president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, defended Brown, “These allegations are just that — allegations,” he said. “We look forward to providing a vigorous defense in court and defeating these charges.”

The case is the third contraband bust publicly reported in the past two months.

On April 9, federal prosecutors in Manhattan charged three former correction officers, a former contractor and a former jail counselor with taking bribes to bring a range of contraband drugs to two different jails.

On April 18, former correction officer Darius Murphy testified in Brooklyn Federal Court he bought a fentanyl-soaked comic book into a jail and gave it to a detainee in exchange for a bribe.

In addition, a large cache of drugs, ceramic blades, rolling papers and other contraband was discovered in a search at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center on Rikers Island  An investigation into the source of that contraband is ongoing.

Brown has been suspended without pay indefinitely, Correction Department spokeswoman Latima Johnson said.

“Smuggling contraband into our facilities puts our correction officers, staff, and people in our care at great risk,” Correction Commissioner Lynelle Maginley-Liddie said. “Anyone doing so should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Brown is due back in court on Aug. 6.


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